Noise and air quality - questions asked and answered in February and March 2018 workshops. For up to date project information please visit northeastlink.vic.gov.au

What provisions are you planning for noise cancelling throughout the whole project - both construction and use?

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop.

Managing noise is an important part of our assessments to inform planning approvals for North East Link. Detailed work will be done to understand existing noise and predicted noise levels once North East Link is constructed. Where required, new noise walls would be built and some current noise walls may need to be replaced.

North East Link would comply with Environment Protection Authority (EPA) guidelines during construction, including prescribed working hours and equipment muffling.

For the West Gate Tunnel project, new noise walls are being erected near residential properties before construction starts. We would explore this as an option for North East Link as required.

Once North East Link is operating, VicRoads noise guidelines would apply.

You can read more about the current EPA and VicRoads noise guidelines here https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/planning-and-projects/environment/noise

Will residents affected by sound barriers have a say on what is planted behind their properties?

* We grouped similar questions together, including...

  • Are the sound wall barriers going to have greenery etc. to make the walls less noticeable to houses abutting the walls?

During our conversations with communities this year we’ll be working to hear more from you about what you like about the look and feel of your local area. This will help inform our urban design strategy including design treatments for noise walls and other elements of the project.


Sound barriers - where will they be placed?

* We grouped similar questions together, including...

  • Can noise amelioration be extended to parklands?

Managing noise is an important part of our assessments to inform planning approvals for North East Link. Detailed work will be done to understand existing noise and predicted noise levels once North East Link is constructed. Where required, new noise walls would be built and some current noise walls may need to be replaced. We’ll know more about the locations of noise walls as the project design progresses throughout the year.

There is no requirement for the North East Link to provide noise amelioration for parklands. However, this year we’ll be working to understand community values and concerns across a range of areas including noise. What we hear will help to inform the non-negotiable design and performance requirements the builder appointed to construct North East Link must meet.

Will there be more work done on the health risks to children with the upgraded roads and air pollution? Will the community be informed?

A detailed assessment of any potential air quality impacts from delivery or operation of the project will be undertaken during the Environment Effects Statement (EES). This assessment will include modelling of air pollutants to understand existing conditions and predict changes. The outcomes of the air quality modelling will be included in the air quality assessment exhibited with the EES.


Traffic - questions asked and answered in February and March 2018 workshops. For up to date project information please visit northeastlink.vic.gov.au

Where will placarded loads go from eastern suburbs to northern suburbs?

Just like CityLink and EastLink, placarded (dangerous) and over-dimensional loads would be prohibited from using the tunnels, although they will be able use the section from the M80 Ring Road to Lower Plenty Road. These vehicles make up less than 2% of total truck volume in the area and most are delivering to local businesses like petrol stations, local industry and hardware stores. The tunnels would be designed and constructed so some placarded vehicles could use them in future should restrictions change.


How will impacts on other modes of transport be taken into account in the local area?

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop

North East Link will expand the existing shared use path infrastructure in the north-east by adding kilometres of new shared use paths and on-road bicycle lanes.

Where does the North East Link fit into a total integrated plan? Problem is it feeds into the Eastern Freeway and at the end of the freeway it just stops … and there's a pedestrian crossing at the end.

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop.

North East Link fits into two plans.

North East Link will not increase the number of trips being made into the city. Instead, the project will cater for the movement of people and goods around Melbourne rather than in and out of the central city areas. While North East Link may redistribute some traffic currently using arterial roads such as St Georges Road and Upper Heidelberg Road to get into the city, our modelling indicates that increases at the city end of Eastern Freeway will be minimal.

Will the EES be looking at decreases in traffic on surrounding arterial roads to provide a balanced view on pollution and noise?

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop

The job of the EES is to assess impacts by comparing the situation with and without the project. They will focus on the new road, but they won't ignore changes on existing roads. The public can have input into what is considered in the EES when scoping requirements are published by the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning in the coming months. 

Traffic congestion increases i.e. Elgar Road, Belmore Road?

The work being undertaken for the project’s Environment Effects Statement (EES) will assess and outline any impacts on localised congestion and the mitigation treatments for these.

Traffic on Elgar Road north of the Eastern Freeway is expected to reduce with the introduction of the North East Link, south of the Eastern Freeway, there may be a small increase in traffic due to the attractiveness of the decongested Eastern Freeway. Belmore Road is expected to have a reduction in traffic as some of the traffic on this road redistributes to the Eastern Freeway to take advantage of the improved performance.


Will there be truck restrictions? No diesel trucks? Time of day restrictions? Increased traffic enforcement if trucks break the rules? Noise bans on exhaust brakes? Night restrictions?

At this stage there are no additional truck restrictions or curfews planned above those that are currently in place. Our analysis to date indicates that even without additional truck restrictions the project is likely to reduce truck volumes on the surrounding road network. Rosanna Road for example is expected to see a decrease in truck traffic of around 75%.

The majority of the trucks remaining on local roads are expected to have either a local delivery or pickup. This is an area that may be further assessed during the Environment Effects Statement (EES).


No one complains about traffic during school holidays. Why can't we provide door-to-door bus transport for school kids and take x-many car trips off the road?

The North East Link Authority has been established to manage the planning and construction of the North East Link project. Implementing a school bus service program is outside the scope of our work. We recommend you follow this suggestion up with your local council or state government member.


Ecology and geology - questions asked and answered in February and March 2018 workshops. For up to date project information please visit northeastlink.vic.gov.au

How can a wide roadway benefit ecology and landscape? Where will the enhancement be?

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop

One of the challenges for this project is that there are no reservations set aside to build the new link.

Reducing impact on the ecology will be a challenge but an important Government commitment is to build Victoria’s longest twin road tunnels to protect key environmental areas. These include Banyule Flats, Yarra River, Bolin Bolin Billabong and the Heide Gallery grounds.

At Simpson Barracks we are working to minimise the project footprint as much as possible. And along the Eastern Freeway, newly planted trees would be protected or replaced where possible. We want to leave the freeway in the same condition or better.

Infrastructure projects also create opportunities to enhance the environment. For example, the EastLink project created many wetlands and planted 4 million plants and trees.

Workshops like this are an important opportunity for us to hear from communities how you would like your environment to be enhanced as part of the North East Link project.

With the area above the tunnel, how can you make it look like a Singapore-type freeway? We need more trees and vegetation as a response to climate change as well as aesthetic concerns.

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop

Part of the planning process we’re working on now includes developing an urban design strategy. This includes looking at examples of other projects in Australia and around the world as well as listening to what communities in the project area like about the look and feel of where they live now, and how they would like it improved. We’ll let our urban design team know you like the design approach used in Singapore.


After the EES process is completed and it is approved by the Minister and it goes out to tender, how much can the design change?

*This question was asked and answered during the workshop. 

The outcome of the EES process will define the area in which the project can be built as well as the Environmental Performance Requirements that must be met.  Any successful tender needs to meet these parameters. The government will also appoint an independent auditor to monitor that the contractor is complying with the Environmental Performance Requirements.

When do we get the geology report? This is fundamental to help us understand what's going to be above or below ground, entry and exit points, stacks for the pollution etc.

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop.

Geotechnical information is still being gathered. There will be lots of geological information and detail published in the EES. An EES typically includes data from each bore site. 

The government has committed to minimum tunnel lengths. You can see these in the maps on our project website. 

How will the ground water levels of the Yarra and associated billabongs be protected during construction?

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop. 

We’re collecting data now that will allow us to model water systems to predict changes to the ground water environment and to understand the ground water levels and quality. The EES will help us explore the relationship between the ground water, wildlife and environment.

How are you going to mitigate the impacts - will there be local offsets?

*We grouped similar questions together, including...

  • How will NELA mitigate the negative impacts of the link on the natural landscape and hydrology - from Greensborough thru to Springvale Road? 
  • How are you going to mitigate the impacts - are there going to be local offsets?
  • Protection of the Yarra River and its floodplain. How can the connection between the river and floodplain (above and below ground) be protected?
  • Interchanges are particularly damaging. What will happen to the tree at the Caltex service station? 
  • The objective must be to enhance the canopy through the link's passage. What offsets are anticipated in terms of tree/vegetation replenishment and where will the plantings be? 
  • What type of rehabilitation recovery programme for the land and vegetation?
  • Open green spaces - what will happen to them?

Planning and approvals for North East Link will be through an Environment Effects Statement (EES) – Victoria’s most stringent planning process.

The EES assesses 18 different study areas including Arboriculture, Ecology (flora, fauna and aquatic), Groundwater, Landscape and visual, and Surface water.

Our planning studies for the EES start with understanding existing conditions in the project area. These studies are happening now.

Following the existing conditions investigations, the potential effects of the project will be assessed by comparing the future situation with and without North East Link being built. Work on these assessments will start around the middle of the year.

Based on the outcomes of the assessments, a set of environmental performance requirements will be developed. These will define the minimum environmental outcomes that must be achieved for design, construction and operation of North East Link.

We still have more work to do to understand what the likely impacts from North East Link could be, and what environmental performance requirements will be needed to mitigate or manage them.

Based on similar projects we know that the performance requirements for North East Link will comprehensive. A few examples could include minimising the project footprint, a tree protection plan and a tree replacement program, design standards to waterproof tunnels and managing construction noise.

The potential improvements North East Link would deliver, as well as any impacts and environmental performance requirements, will be detailed in reports written for the EES and made available to the public.

Is there going to be an 'expert' study carried out on the native wildlife?

Yes. The Environment Effects Statement study areas include flora and fauna investigations. These are carried out by qualified specialists.

Will the community be consulted and actively involved in redesigning affected areas? Will we be able to assist plant choices and rejuvenation of rivers and ecosystems?

* We grouped similar questions together, including... 

  • How are the values in this area going to be maintained/protected?
  • How will dewatering effluent be treated/discharged back to environment?

These workshops are the start of our conversations with communities to understand more about what you already like about where you live, and what improvements you would like made to your local environment. We’re also working closely with local councils, the Wurundjeri and other government agencies including Melbourne Water and the EPA to discuss issues and opportunities.


What will be the impacts on the green wedges of the areas next to NELA, for example Koonung Creek and wetlands?

We are aiming to keep upgrade works to the Eastern Freeway within the existing road reserve. Where this is not possible, public open space such the Koonung Creek Linear Park will be required to avoid acquiring homes on both sides of the freeway. While it is too early to define the area of impact in square meters, a focus of the design development will be to minimise impact on Koonung Creek Parklands and all public open space along the Eastern Freeway. We are working with Melbourne Water, local councils and the community to manage potential impacts.

Design and construction - questions asked and answered in February and March 2018 workshops. For up to date project information please visit northeastlink.vic.gov.au

How many times does the tunnel cross the Yarra?

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop. 

Geotechnical work is ongoing to understand ground conditions under the river and the floodplain. We’ll know more about the best alignment for the tunnels once more studies have been completed.

Where does the tunnel start and finish?

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop

The North East Link tunnels would start just north of Lower Plenty Road and surface at the edge of the Veneto Club carpark.

Why can't the whole thing be a tunnel?

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop. 

For projects like North East Link to go ahead they have to be affordable and, overall, deliver benefits that outweigh the costs.

Tunnelling is expensive. It costs 10-15 times more than building a standard freeway.

There are also technical challenges to building all of North East Link in tunnel. At the southern end, we need to connect to the Eastern Freeway. At the northern end we need to connect to the M80 and into the existing road network at Grimshaw Street.


How deep will the tunnel go?

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop.

The top of the tunnels would be at least 15m below properties and the Yarra River bed. This is the deepest point of the tunnel. Other points underground won’t be known until we have completed more geotechnical work and engineering design.

• How will the disruption caused by construction be managed? What will be done to control dust during construction?

* We grouped similar questions together, including...

  • Documents do not seem to identify the possible locations of construction compounds. These are likely to be numerous and large. Various environmental impacts are possible. Are the issues of construction compounds to be articulated?
  • Will there be night works in proximity to residential properties? Is this going to be a 24 hour operation?

We are in the early stages of planning North East Link and it is too early for us to know details about likely construction hours, disruptions and compound locations.

Construction impacts will be assessed as part of the Environment Effects Statement (EES) being prepared this year.

The EES will include a description of likely locations for construction compounds and expected impacts. It will also include minimum environmental performance requirements for their establishment, operation and restoration.

The EES will also include a description of other expected construction impacts such as noise and dust and the minimum performance requirements to manage or mitigate these.

During construction North East Link would comply with Environment Protection Authority (EPA) guidelines.

The builder appointed to construct North East Link would be required to provide management plans that clearly define how safety, access and other impacts such as noise and dust will meet EPA guidelines during each construction phase.

For example, measures to control dust would likely include watering exposed areas and installing wind fences where needed.

Should night works be required, these will be carefully managed to ensure residents are notified and disruptions are minimised.

You can read more about EPA’s Environmental guidelines for major construction sites here http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/~/media/Publications/480.pdf