The second stage of Melbourne's Monash Freeway Upgrade has been added to the Infrastructure Priority List as a High Priority Project after the business case was positively assessed by Infrastructure Australia, the nation's independent infrastructure advisor.
Based on the Australian Infrastructure Audit and more than 500 submissions from governments, stakeholder groups and the community, the Infrastructure Priority List is the authoritative list of nationally significant infrastructure investments Australia needs over the next 15 years.
Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive Philip Davies said: “Adding Monash Freeway Upgrade Stage 2 to the Infrastructure Priority List as a High Priority Project confirms this project is a sound investment that will help meet the demands of growth in Melbourne's south east and outer south east.
“Complementing works already underway, Stage 2 of the Monash Freeway Upgrade involves constructing additional freeway lanes to the west of Eastlink and east of Clyde Road, extending managed motorway technology and improved connections to the freeway at Beaconsfield.
“Monash Freeway is one of Melbourne's critical transport links to the south east and outer south east regions, carrying over 470,000 trips per day and providing access to the growing Monash and Dandenong employment centres.
“Without action to increase capacity on the Monash Freeway, drivers in Melbourne could face slower and less reliable travel times. This will worsen as freight and commuter demand grows, particularly where Monash Freeway intersects with the Princes Freeway and at the entry and exit ramps.
“The Australian Infrastructure Audit found that traffic on the eastern end of Monash Freeway will grow by close to 50% from 2016 to 2051 due to increased trips from the outer south east, while demand on the western end will grow by up to 13% over the same period.
“With a stated benefit-cost ratio of 4.6, Infrastructure Australia's analysis shows that Monash Freeway Upgrade Stage 2 will have the most benefit if delivered in the short term as delaying the project will reduce the potential economic uplift,” Mr Davies said.
Infrastructure Australia has also commended the Victorian Government for undertaking a detailed options analysis to determine the best course of action to increase capacity on the corridor.
“Undertaking a detailed assessment of potential solutions to address an identified infrastructure problem is critical part of successful business case development for a major infrastructure project.
“A key part of Infrastructure Australia's Assessment Framework, this involves developing a range of potential options to address an identified infrastructure gap and then putting in place a rigorous process to determine which course of action would deliver the best outcomes for the community.
“We consider the options analysis undertaken by the Victorian Government as part of this business case to be best practice, providing added confidence that this project will address capacity issues on the Monash Freeway and improve travel times in a growing part of Melbourne,” Mr Davies said.
The revised Infrastructure Priority List is available at www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au.