The 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit identified the corridor between the Melbourne CBD and Melbourne Airport as one of the most heavily congested in Melbourne. The Tullamarine Freeway was already operating at, or close to, capacity in 2016. Congestion affects traffic in both directions, particularly close to the airport terminal. Analysis completed as part of the Audit estimated that travel times to the airport during peak periods will increase substantially between 2016 and 2031 (even after the current project to widen the freeway is completed).
From 2016 to 2031, travel time by car in the morning peak from the airport to the city is projected to increase by eight minutes, from 52 minutes to 60 minutes, while travel times by car in the evening peak from the city to the airport are projected to increase by 10 minutes, from 42 minutes to 52 minutes.
Melbourne’s population growth, combined with expected growth in passenger numbers at Melbourne Airport, will be key drivers of future congestion on the Melbourne CBD to Melbourne Airport corridor.
The Victorian Government, together with the Australian Government, has commenced planning for a rail link between Melbourne Airport and Melbourne’s CBD through the Melbourne Airport Rail (MAR) Study. A Strategic Appraisal was completed in mid‑2018, which selected the Sunshine Route as the preferred route alignment for the MAR.
The MAR Study will coordinate planning with the Melbourne Airport Land Access Strategy, which is investigating options to improve and strengthen road access and capacity, and to increase existing bus access and services to the airport.
Proponent to identify initiatives and develop options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).