A major section of the CityLink Tulla Widening project in Melbourne’s north western suburb of Essendon is set to open, with revamped exits allowing the final new outbound lane to be unveiled.
The revamped outbound Bulla Road and English Street exit features a separated road through to English Street and Matthews Avenue.
Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities, Paul Fletcher, said the opening of the exit marks an exciting milestone.
“The CityLink Tulla Widening is boosting capacity by 30 per cent which is easing congestion and improving travel times – so far, drivers are saving an average 13-and-a-half minutes on an average 8am weekday trip inbound from Melbourne Airport to Bolte Bridge,” Mr Fletcher said.
Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Luke Donnellan, said that drivers wanting to get off the freeway at English Street will need to follow the signs to a new, earlier exit when the interchange opens on Wednesday.
“We know that these changes will take some getting used to, so we’re asking drivers to be aware of the earlier exits, follow the new signage and take extra care when these interchanges open,” Mr Donnellan said.
Liberal Senator for Victoria, James Paterson, said the revamped Bulla Road and English Street exit required an extension to the Bulla Road bridge and a brand-new tunnel built under Bulla Road to unlock a route for the separated road.
“This tunnel is 36m in length, seven metres wide and six metres high and required crews to excavate more than 39,000 cubic metres of soil,” Senator Paterson said.
Victorian Member for Niddrie Ben Carroll said the new, earlier exit will make it safer and easier for drivers wanting to access Essendon Fields and Airport West.
“This new separated road will reduce dangerous merging and improve traffic flow on the Tulla, where we’re already seeing massive travel time savings,” Mr Carroll said.
Similar, earlier exits and separated roads have been introduced at Bulla Road and Bell Street, as well as Mickleham Road and M80 Ring Road, where they have reduced unsafe queuing onto the Tullamarine Freeway.
Drivers will be given advanced notice of changed traffic conditions with 15 new, permanent overhead directional signs and ten additional electronic variable messaging signs to help them navigate the new exit.
Crews continue work to finalise the CityLink Tulla Widening project, which has so far included almost five million work hours, over 230,000 tonnes of asphalt and more than 52km of new line marking.
Travel times outbound to Melbourne Airport are expected to improve when the final section of new lane is opened to traffic early next month.
The CityLink Tulla Widening is a $1.3 billion-dollar investment jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments and Transurban, the operator of CityLink. The final section is being delivered by Victoria’s Major Road Projects Authority.