Enterprising Approaches in the Successful Construction of a Toll Motorway (East Link) Through Suburban Melbourne, Australia

Ken Mathers Ken Mathers, Chief Executive Officer, Linking Melbourne Authority, Australia Arun Kumar, Professor of Infrastructure Management Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia Arun Kumar

Overview

A 39 kilometer toll motorway was constructed on budget (A$2.5 billion) and five months ahead of time. It was opened in June 2008. This project involved 17 interchanges, 88 bridges and twin three lane, 1.6 km tunnels. It has three lanes in each direction for 33 km and two lanes in each direction for 6 km. EastLink connects the eastern suburbs of Melbourne and was delivered under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement by Connect East (listed on the Australian Stock Exchange) for the Victorian Government agency, Southern and Eastern Integrated Transport Authority (SEITA). Project development was undertaken by two of Australia's largest contracting organisations, Thiess and John Holland, in a joint venture arrangement.

This paper describes the uniqueness of the project, construction practices and the working relationship with owners and contractors that led to a successful outcome. This project has set new standards in design, construction speed, safety, environmental impact, community engagement and significantly enhanced the urban amenity of the corridor.

Background

EastLink Motorway
Figure 1: EastLink Motorway overview
The road reserve for this corridor was planned in the early 1960's. Environmental impact statements were developed and consulted with the community living along the corridor in the 1990's. As Melbourne continued to expand, the construction of the Motorway became imperative. Work commenced in March 2005 and was completed in June 2008. An overview of the motorway section is being presented in Figure 1.

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