The first stage of the Monash Freeway Upgrade in Melbourne has been completed on time and under budget, allowing drivers in the south east to reach their destination more quickly and safely.

More than 1.5 million working hours, 74 huge steel gantries, 200,000 tonnes of asphalt and more than 2,000 permanent concrete barriers have contributed to this stage of the project.

The speed limit has now been returned to 100 km/h, with drivers already seeing travel time savings of more than seven minutes at peak times.

Acting Premier, James Merlino, and Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan, have thanked workers who made it possible to deliver the massive project on time and under budget.

Eight bridges have been widened to carry new lanes, which have been added in the centre of the road.

New lanes opened between EastLink and Clyde Road in early May, two months ahead of schedule, making room on the freeway for an extra 2,000 vehicles per hour.

Electronic signage above the freeway, including lane use signs and electronic speed limits were switched on in early June, which marked the return of the freeway to 100km/h. This technology allows the remote management of lanes, keeping traffic moving more efficiently, as well as faster responses to incidents.

Nine new freeway ramp signals are also now operating managing the number of cars entering the freeway helping traffic flow better and reducing stop-start driving.

The Australian and Victorian Governments have invested $1 billion to upgrade the Monash Freeway.

Stage 2 of the project will add new lanes between Warrigal Road and EastLink, and between Clyde Road and Cardinia Road and extend O’Shea Road to meet the freeway at an upgraded Beaconsfield Interchange.

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