The Monash Freeway extension involves the construction of 7.5 kms of freeway linking the existing end point of the Monash Freeway at Dandenong with the Princes Freeway at Berwick. At the moment, traffic wishing to travel between those two freeways must use the congested Princes Highway from Hallam to Narre Warren. The estimated cost of the project, fully financed by the Victorian State Government, is $175 million.
The freeway extension will provide an excellent transport link between Monash's oldest and newest Australian campuses - Clayton and Berwick. Berwick Campus will finally be linked to Melbourne city, an international airport, and Victoria's second largest city (Geelong) by continuous and high-grade freeway conditions.
|Map of the Monash Freeway extension|
As part of the Victorian state budget in May 1999, the Government allocated funds to construct the Monash Freeway extension. The scheduled completion date was announced as December 2004. Construction commenced in April 2000, with work concentrating on installing bridges across selected roads that traversed the freeway reserve and upgrading roads around the site of the freeway. In mid-2001, construction of the actual freeway commenced, along with other related bridge and neighbouring road works. Standard Roads and Transfield are responsible for most of the construction works related to the Monash Freeway extension.
Rescheduling of construction contracts in November 2001 led to an announcement by the government that the Monash Freeway extension would be completed one year early - by December 2003. At that stage, the government had declared that the Monash Freeway extension was officially Victoria's number one priority road project due to the enormous traffic congestion occuring around it. Due to a very dry winter during 2002, all construction contracts are now running significantly ahead of schedule, with the freeway opening date tipped to be July 2003.
The Monash Freeway extension will traverse 7.5 kms through the City of Casey - Victoria's fastest growing municipality with a population at the end of 2002 of around 200,000 residents. The freeway will:
|Traffic congestion on the Princes Highway at Hallam|
|Going nowhere - the 20 km/h afternoon crawl along the Monash Freeway from Jacksons Rd to the freeway endpoint at Hallam, along a distance of 10 kilometres. This is the second most congested freeway section in Melbourne.|
Where things stand at the moment - December 2002
With most of the freeway earthworks complete, the only section of the Monash Freeway extension that is yet to have its first asphalt layer applied to it is the area around the interchange of the Monash Freeway extension with the existing Princes Highway at Narre Warren and Berwick.
|Transfield continues construction works at the eastern end of the Monash Freeway extension|
The Monash Freeway extension, around the Tinks Road area, still requires the final layers of asphalt as well as completion of noise barriers and a wire safety rope along the median strip.
|Looking west from the Tinks Road overpass along freeway construction works|
Standard Roads are making excellent progress at the western end of the Monash Freeway extension around the Endeavour Hills area. Most of the guttering and sound barriers are in place, with the wire safety rope along the median strip almost complete. The application of the final layer of asphalt, exit ramp lighting, signage and road markings are still outstanding.
|Looking west across the almost completed Monash Freeway extension through the Endeavour Hills area|