Construction is due to start on the West Gate Tunnel project in January after contracts were signed with builders CPB/John Holland and tolling company Transurban on Monday.
Melbourne motorists will pay tolls until 2045 to help pay for the West Gate Tunnel Project, which has blown out to $6.7 billion.
The toll road was initially priced at $5.5 billion.
The Victorian government recently appointed the duo of CPB Contractors and John Holland to take up the work next month, marking one of Victoria’s largest ever urban road projects in the new year.
John Holland chief executive Joe Barr said the project would provide important benefits to the people of Melbourne.
“In providing an alternative route to the West Gate Bridge and direct access to the port, the project will significantly decrease traffic congestion, improve productivity, remove numerous trucks from local roads and reduce travel times for motorists,” he said.
[Related reading: John Holland Wins West Gate Tunnel Project]
Design and construction works include widening the West Gate Freeway from eight lanes to 12 between the M80 Ring Road and Williamstown Road, a 2.8 kilometre eastbound tunnel and four kilometre westbound tunnel under Yarraville.
It will also involve a new bridge over the Maribyrnong River, an elevated road along Footscray Road to the Port of Melbourne, CityLink and the city’s north and major new cycling and pedestrian paths.
The Victorian government expect the project will inject billions into the state economy, creating 6,000 new jobs, including 500 jobs for people entering the workforce, and up to 150 jobs for former auto workers.
Their other expectation is the tunnel will ultimately see thousands of trucks directed off residential streets in the inner west and reduce congestion along the M1 corridor from Pakenham to Geelong.
“Our solution features urban design with high social and environmental value. We will work in partnership with residents and other stakeholders to ensure the project provides exceptional outcomes,” Victorian Executive General Manager Trevor Hall said.
With early works staring in January 2018, the project was given an estimated completion by 2022, by which time Parliament will have received new legislation to operate the new road tunnel and amendments to the CityLink concession deed.
The Melbourne Metro Rail Authority reported that the contracts recently signed between the government, John Holland and CPB will ensure the construction work and future operation will be paid for at a state level should Parliament reject the CityLink amendments and new legislation.