A contract with the successful tenderer will be signed after planning approvals are obtained in late 2017.

Tenderers will now bid to design and construct the Western Distributor using the Reference design and other requirements as a guide.

The specialists completing the 17 studies for the Environment Effects Statement (EES) will commence the impact assessment work based on the Reference design.

Engagement with communities and stakeholders continues including the Community Liaison Group, Technical Reference Group, local working groups and workshops, a community hub and public displays.

Later this year, tenderers will submit their response to the project team for evaluation and the draft EES will updated to reflect changes to the Reference design to ensure all possible project effects are known and placed on public exhibition in the first half of 2017.

We provide tenderers with all the work we’ve done to date, and all the relevant information they need to develop a tender response. This includes the Reference design and other requirements they must adhere to such road design, quality of construction, traffic management, operational safety, ongoing maintenance, regulatory compliance, sustainability, urban design and land availability amongst others. Each tenderer uses that information as a basis to develop their tender response and cost of the project.

The project team assesses each tender response and changes to the Reference design will be included in the impact assessments that form part of the Environment Effects Statement and placed on public exhibition in the first half of 2017.

A contract will only be signed after planning approvals are obtained and the preferred contractors design has been updated to address any recommendations of the Minister for Planning.

The project will not require the compulsory acquisition of homes. There is some acquisition of commercial and industrial land. Businesses in locations where land might be needed were notified several months ago when the concept design was released and have been provided a direct contact for them to work with during the planning phase.

The final design and the number of commercial properties affected won’t be known until late 2017 after the planning process has been completed. We are advising them now that their land could possibly be affected so that they know this well in advance and can contribute to the planning process and plan ahead.

There is lots of great news for cycling and walking with nearly 10 kilometers of improvements. It’ll be easier to travel by bike and foot with new shared paths and upgrades to existing infrastructure including:

  • completing the Federation trail ‘missing link’ and improving connectivity between both sides of the West Gate Freeway
  • a new off-road connection from Somerville Road/Whitehall Street to Footscray Road
  • new connections from the Dynon Road shared path to the Capital City Trail, Moonee Ponds Creek Trail and to Spencer Street
  • new pedestrian bridges over the West Gate Freeway that are Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant.

We want to continue engaging with communities and councils as we move through the Reference design phase.

When we hear feedback, we’ll be passing that onto the tenderers and to the technical specialists who are undertaking work on the EES.

The EES public submission stage next year will provide a formal opportunity for interested parties to make a submission on the Reference design and changes proposed by tenderers.

You can find out more and stay involved in many different ways:

  • sign up to email updates (see form at the bottom of this page) or contact us
  • visit our mobile info hub or display as we take the Reference Design to different locations
  • follow us on Facebook and Twitter
  • talk with your local Community Liaison Group member to stay informed or to provide feedback for the project team to consider
  • look out for updates from the team via newsletters, email, our website, on Facebook and at local events and pop ups.

We’re entering phase three of a five phase process – so we’re about half way through the project’s development. There is still a lot of work to do.

The design will continue to develop through the competitive tender process and in response to outcomes of the Environment Effects Statement (EES) planning process.

We are now entering phase three of the project’s planning and development – the Reference design, phase. This is a detailed planning and development phase which will run from mid to late 2016.

During this time construction companies bid to design and construct the project, and detailed impact assessments are undertaken to inform the project’s Environment Effects Statement (EES).

  • Competitive tender process gets underway

    The tenderers have until later this year to respond and explain in detail how they would design and construct the project and how much it would cost, using the Reference design and other requirements as a base. Find out more about this process.

  • Specialist studies begin

    Over the coming months, 17 specialist studies will be undertaken to assess the environmental, social and economic effects of the project (impact assessments) and reported on in the project’s EES. Find out more about this process in the EES specialist studies discussion paper.

    • Later this year, tenderers proposals will be submitted and incorporated into the EES.
    • You will be able to view and provide feedback on the EES in the first half of 2017.

You can find out more about the Reference design and how the project might look by exploring our Interactive map or reading more about the project’s Environment Effects Statement and other important topics such as noise, air quality, design development and consultation outcomes.

You can also contact the project team at any time via the website or phone for more information.

There are a few key refinements that have been made in response to consultation:

  • The Concept design included two options for connecting the tunnel with the West Gate Freeway. We’ve included only the ‘long tunnel’ option in the Reference design as this offers the best overall outcome and responds directly to feedback from community and stakeholders.
  • The Concept Design included five options for connecting the West Gate Freeway with Hyde Street. We’ve included one in the Reference Design, which is a refined version of the ‘north-south’ option that was discussed through consultation, in response to the feedback we received.
  • We have also included a number of improvements to walking and cycling paths and developed new Urban Design Guidelines to provide a vision for how new structures and will look, feel and function in the surrounding environment.

You can read more about what we heard and how we have considered feedback.

The Monash Freeway Upgrade is part of the $5.5 billion Western Distributor Project. The Victorian Government and Transurban are partnering to deliver the Western Distributor Project, a whole of network solution to tackling congestion on the M1 and supporting Melbourne’s growth.

The Western Distributor Project includes:
• Widening the West Gate Freeway;
• A connection from the West Gate Freeway to the Port of Melbourne, CityLink and the CBD via a new road tunnel under Yarraville;
• A bridge over the Maribyrnong River providing an alternative river crossing to the West Gate Bridge;
• A direct connection to the Port of Melbourne from Hyde Street to get trucks off local streets to relieve congestion; and
• the Monash Freeway Upgrade
The Monash Freeway Upgrade will add more than 30 kilometres of new freeway lanes to the Monash Freeway. This includes widening the road from four to five lanes between EastLink and the South Gippsland Freeway, and from two to three lanes between the South Gippsland Freeway and Clyde Road in Berwick.

Widening works will ease congestion and reduce travel times for Victorian drivers. Extra lanes and smart roadside technologies will mean safer, smoother journeys.

Other improvements include:
• Ramp signals added from Chadstone to Pakenham, to prevent stop-start driving conditions and dangerous sudden braking. Entry ramps will be widened to accommodate more vehicles
• Lane Use Management Signs (LUMS) installed along the corridor to improve traffic flow by providing drivers with information in the event of an incident
• Bridges and structures from EastLink to Clyde Road will be upgraded to be wider and to carry the additional lanes, providing long-term reliability for the freeway. Additionally, lighting at various interchanges will be improved.

The final cost is expected to be approximately $400 million.

The advice by road experts is that the combination of an extra lane and smart technology is the best way to manage growth and get the best value out of our existing freeways.

The Hallam Bypass section was always designed and planned to allow for a third lane when needed – and that’s what we are doing now.

A managed motorway controls the flow and entry of vehicles onto the freeway to keep traffic moving and minimise delays.

Ramp signals right along the Monash out to Pakenham will keep the freeway flowing smoothly by controlling traffic entering the freeway. This will prevent traffic ‘shockwaves’ up and down the M1 that make driving frustrating and dangerous.

This will be the longest stretch of managed roadway in Australia – and it means from Werribee to Pakenham traffic can be managed to keep the M1 flowing.

The widening will mainly occur in the existing centre median on both sides of the freeway.

The current number of lanes will be open during peak times and construction will be staged to avoid major disruption to motorists.

The addition of one lane to an existing major freeway is not expected to noticeably increase traffic noise, except for in one location at Heatherton Road. A noise assessment of the Monash improvements found the predicted change in noise levels would be negligible.

The noise assessment showed that one area of the freeway adjacent to the Heatherton Road outbound exit ramp will exceed the noise standard (of 68dB (A)) so a new section of noise wall will be built there as part of the Upgrade works.

More information on noise modelling and management for the Monash Freeway Upgrade here

The Upgrade is contained within the existing freeway reserve and a preliminary assessment found no significant habitat for any species of national or state conservation significance.

Strict environmental management measures will be in place to ensure that construction noise, dust, drainage and other community impacts are minimised as much as possible.

No. The upgraded section of the Monash Freeway will remain toll free.

There are a number of planned construction projects that the contractor will be taking into consideration when designing the MFU program. These include some bridge strengthening works, VicRoads routine maintenance and level crossing removal works on the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines. In each instance, the contractor will work closely with stakeholders to determine the scope of any planned works, and what impacts, if any, they will have on drivers or the community. Advanced notice of any disruptions will be provided using the following channels:

  • variable message signs on the freeway and local roads
  • letters delivered to local residents
  • advertisements in local newspapers and on radio
  • information on websites including this site and VicRoads
  • notices on social media including @WDMelb and @vicroads Twitter accounts
  • email notifications to stakeholders and road user groups.

Usage of the Monash Freeway follows different patterns all along its length. For example, in the past decade the number of cars using the Hallam Bypass has increased by 50 per cent. The freeway is busiest between the EastLink and the South Gippsland Freeway.

The MFU is accordingly focused on a 44 kilometre stretch between Chadstone and Pakenham, from Warrigal Road to Koo Wee Rup Road. The priority sections of the freeway, which are most in need of added capacity, are EastLink Interchange to South Gippsland Freeway, and South Gippsland Freeway to Clyde Road. They are being widened to meet current and projected demand.

Beyond the widening works, new and upgraded roadway technology will manage traffic flow to ensure more reliable conditions, especially at peak times.

In construction zones on the freeway, the speed limit will be dropped to 80km/h for the safety of drivers and workers. Construction zones will have a maximum distance of 7km. When travelling this distance at a speed of 80km/h compared to 100km/h, the difference in travel time is 63 seconds. We are grateful for this minute of your time to ensure a safer environment for our workers and your fellow drivers.

With any large road project, some delays are unavoidable. During the course of the Monash Freeway Upgrade, the current number of lanes will remain open during peak times and construction will be staged to avoid major disruption to road users.

Some additional lane, freeway or ramp closures will be required throughout the course of the project. The travelling public will be given advance notice of any major impacts.

The lanes will all be added within the existing reserve and the current centre median between the carriageways. This means that the freeway will not be widened any closer to residents or businesses along the corridor. In order to increase storage of ramps to accommodate more vehicles for the ramp signals, some ramps are to be widened.

The Monash Freeway Upgrade is expected to start later this year and be finished in 2018.

You can find out more about the construction program and any localised changes on the CityLink Tulla Widening Project website.

VicRoads is widening Cook Street from one to two lanes in each direction between Todd Road and the West Gate Freeway.

These works complement Port of Melbourne capacity improvements, providing better links between the Port and key freight routes and directing trucks away from residential streets.

Together with the Western Distributor Webb Dock Access works, the Cook Street widening provides a network solution to Melbourne’s growing freight volumes. The Cook Street project will commence in early 2016 with completion by the end of the year.

Transurban and VicRoads are coordinating the works to reduce impacts to road users and nearby businesses and communities.

These works are being delivered together with the CityLink Tulla Widening Project, with construction contractor, CPB Contractors.

Initial works commenced in late 2015, and major construction ramped up in June 2016. The project is expected to be completed in 2017.

The Webb Dock access improvements will:

  • provide a quicker and more efficient route for freight that is not affected by traffic conditions on the West Gate Freeway
  • reduce weaving and merging on the West Gate Freeway which can contribute to traffic flow break down and create congestion
  • improve safety on the Bolte Bridge entry ramp, reducing the risk of truck roll overs and associated costly traffic delays which are felt right across the freeway network
  • improve access and safety between the West Gate Freeway and the Bolte Bridge.

Webb Dock Access improvements works include:

  • an upgraded and signalisedCook St/Salmon St intersection
  • a new ramp connecting the West Gate Freeway and Bolte Bridge with a gentler curve to reduce the risk of truck roll overs
  • a new lane from Cook St to the Bolte Bridge ramp to provide direct access to freight heading north
  • a longer and wider exit ramp providing more capacity to enable ramp metering
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