New Parks and Wetlands as the North East Link Program takes shape

Designs for North East Link have been released outlining the next steps to deliver new parks and wetlands in the eastern suburbs, including a new cultural landscape precinct along the banks of the Yarra River in Bulleen.

The design to fix the missing link in Melbourne’s freeway network includes a new two-hectare green bridge in Bulleen linking Koonung Creek Trail to Bulleen Park and Yarra River parklands, connecting schools, playing fields and sports clubs.

Designs released today also include a longer tunnel to Watsonia, simpler underground interchanges, a new tree-lined boulevard for Greensborough Road and three new, revived and reconnected parklands and wetlands including a new cultural precinct for Melbourne along the Yarra River.

New wetlands and open space along the banks of Birrarung (the Yarra River) will re-establish a significant cultural landscape to the Wurundjeri people, creating an exciting new cultural precinct for Melbourne and linking Heide Museum of Modern Art with Yarra River parklands.

The design announced today allows Bulleen Art and Garden to stay at its current site and works around Bulleen’s River Red Gum tree. Seeds have been collected from the tree and it will be monitored throughout the building phase and beyond.

The designs also include more than 34 kilometres of walking and cycling paths and 40 bridges and crossings linking our city’s north and east to Yarra River trails and parklands, making it faster and easier to ride to the city and move about local suburbs by bike or on foot.

A new four-kilometre bicycle superhighway will stretch across the Yarra River from Burke Road to the Merri Creek Trail and the inner city cycle network, forming 100km of continuous trails around Melbourne.

Bike paths will also provide connections to rapid bus services on the new Eastern Express busway, and every bridge will be upgraded from Springvale Road to Bulleen Road.

North East Link is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Victorian governments.

The North East Link tunnels will be delivered by Spark consortium in a $11.1billion Public Private Partnership contract, subject to financial close. With the tunnelling package now awarded, other key elements of North East Link such as the Eastern Freeway overhaul will start being taken out to market from 2022.

Urban design and landscape plans will be prepared so people can see designs in much more detail and make a written submission.

The urban design and landscape plan for the North East Link Tunnels and North East Trail from Watsonia to Bulleen will be on exhibition in early 2022. Plans for the other elements of North East Link will follow as builders for these come on board.

North East Link is part of more than $18 billion being invested into major road and rail projects in Melbourne’s north and north-east. These projects will work together to reduce congestion, cut travel times and provide more trains more often.

North East Link, Suburban Rail Loop, Hurstbridge Line Duplication and the Metro Tunnel will transform travel, making getting to work, school and health services quicker and easier.

Quote attributable to Member for Box Hill Paul Hamer

“The road tunnels are just one part of a massive investment in the north east – this project will change the way people move around Melbourne and deliver the game-changing road, bus, walking and cycling upgrades.” 

Quote attributable to Member for Hawthorn John Kennedy

“Before we get construction underway, we’ll be asking local people what they think about the look and feel of the design for their local area, including new and returned parklands, playgrounds, wetlands, walking and cycling bridges.”

Quote attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Sonja Terpstra

“North East Link will build a new two-hectare green bridge in Bulleen, new Bolin Bolin wetlands, as well as more than 34 kilometres of walking and cycling paths – a fantastic outcome for the people of Manningham and the north-east.”