M80 Ring Road, Melbourne


M80 Ring Road, Melbourne
Western Ring Road
Metropolitan Ring Road
Australian National Route M80.svg Australian Alphanumeric State Route M80.svg
Formerly _Australian Ring Road Route 80.png Australian State Route 80.svg
Length 38 km (24 mi)
Direction Southwest–Northeast
From Australian Alphanumeric State Route M1.svg Princes Freeway /
Australian Alphanumeric State Route M1.svg West Gate Freeway, Laverton North, Melbourne
Major suburbs Sunshine West, Ardeer, Cairnlea, St. Albans, Keilor East, Keilor Park, Tullamarine, Airport West, Gowanbrae, Campbellfield, Thomastown, Bundoora
To Australian State Route 46.svg Greensborough Highway, Greensborough, Melbourne
Established 1990
Allocation Princes / West Gate Freeway – Western Freeway:
Australian Alphanumeric State Route M80.svg
Western Freeway – Hume Freeway:
Australian National Route M80.svg
Hume Freeway – Greensborough Highway:
Australian Alphanumeric State Route M80.svg
Major junctions Australian National Route M8.svg Western Freeway
Australian State Route 8.svg Ballarat Road
Australian Alphanumeric State Route M79.svg Australian State Route 40.svg Calder Freeway
Australian Alphanumeric State Route M2.PNGAustralian State Route 43.svg Tullamarine Freeway
Australian State Route 55.svg Sydney Road
Australian National Route M31.svg Hume Freeway
Australian State Route 27.svg Plenty Road

for full list see exits and interchanges.

The M80 Ring Road, more formally known as the Western Ring Road or Metropolitan Ring Road, is a freeway in Melbourne, Australia connecting the northern suburbs and the western suburbs to various freeways:

It is linked to the eastern suburbs by the shorter Metropolitan Ring Road; the two are collectively called 'the Ring Road', and are generally considered together on traffic reports. It is signed M80 for its entire length, and is officially a National Highway between the Western Freeway and the Hume Freeway (signified by a National shield for this portion).

The road relieves freight traffic from Sydney Road, Pascoe Vale Road and Geelong Road and funnels them to the freeways. With connections to every major interstate and regional freeways, it has encouraged both industrial and residential growth in Melbourne's western suburbs.

Over the past few years there have been discussions about extending the Metropolitan Ring Road from Greensborough Road and tunnelling it under Greensborough and going through the Banyule Flats and connecting to the Eastern Freeway at Bulleen. A study has been initiated by VicRoads to supplement the Western Ring Road with an Outer Metropolitan Ring Road.

Contents

History

The Ring Road project was proposed as part of the 1969 Melbourne Transportation Plan (F3 & F5 Freeway corridor) and has documented in almost every edition of the Melway Street Directory since that time. Construction of the Western Ring Road began in 1989 with work on the Broadmeadows section, and was completed with the final link between the Calder and Tullamarine Freeways. Under the Keating Commonwealth government, a total $555 million was provided by the Federal Government for the Western Ring Road, with a $76 million contribution from the Victorian Government; and this allowed the opening to occur in 1999.

The project is generally divided into 3 sections:

Western Ring Road at Keilor Park
  • Western Ring Road: This is the section between the West Gate Freeway and the Hume Freeway. It is signed M80 for its entire length, and is officially a National Highway between the Western Freeway and the Hume Freeway (signified by a National shield for this portion).
  • Northern Ring Road: This section is currently named Metropolitan Ring Road although many people do not know that is its current official title. It is located between the Hume Freeway and the Greensborough Highway.
  • Eastern Ring Road: This 39 km section, officially named EastLink and opened to the public on 29 June 2008, connects the Eastern Freeway to the Frankston Freeway. Originally planned to be free from tolls and partially funded by the Federal Government, the Victorian Government under Steve Bracks broke its election promise and pushed for the road to be tolled.

Proposed widening of the Western and Metropolitan Ring Roads is to be carried out between 2009 and 2014, to be funded by the Federal Government Auslink 2 program.[1]

Missing section

Currently, the easternmost point of the Northern Ring Road terminates at Greensborough at the Greensborough Bypass. There are no announced plans to extend the road further to the Eastern Ring Road (Eastern Freeway or Eastlink) or to any other roads in the South East of Melbourne. As a result, it is unclear when or even if the Metropolitan Ring Road will ever be totally complete.

While the route for this missing section is unclear, it would take the road through areas that are environmentally and politically sensitive, such as Viewbank, Banyule Flats, Eltham, Templestowe or Warrandyte. The link to the east may well have to be provided by other means, such as the proposed tunnel to connect the Eastern Freeway with Melbourne's west.

Another possible route for the freeway has been suggested that would result in existing transmission line corridors being utilized [2]. The official reservation for the extension ends at Ryans Road in Eltham North, but these transmission line corridors could be used to carry the freeway through to Eastlink in Ringwood. Environmental impacts would still be a problem including noise, pollution, possible destruction of vegetation and the interruption of wildlife crossings. Less opposition from local politicians and the public would be likely if the much more expensive option of tunneling is chosen (if the extension does actually proceed).

If completed it will provide a circumferential route around Melbourne starting from Altona and ending in Frankston. The resulting beltway will be similar to the size and scope of Sydney's Orbital Motorway.

On 7 July 2008 it was announced by Premier John Brumby that the completion of the Missing Section was again being considered by the Victorian State Government as part of a wider plan to deal with Melbourne's traffic problems [3]. A new freeway through some of the city's most environmentally sensitive areas is among a series of proposals considered in the plan. The idea has for many years stirred intense debate both at the political level and among the community. The history of the proposal is extensive and renewed public interest to the issue is likely to result from this revelation by the premier. Options or possible routes for the freeway are complex. The project, if it does happen, is likely to face heavy scrutiny from the public and the local councils: both explain that the only option is the extension of the public transport infrastructure, not the construction of more freeways.

Purpose

Much controversy surrounds the Metropolitan Ring Road project in Melbourne in many different topics including; environmental, economical, social, private & public transportation and both positive and negative aspects are well represented for each topic by many people and groups small and large. This has led to heavy debate in all areas of society in Melbourne from political and media to general public views and conversations.

The road serves various uses:

  • integrating the metropolitan area by linking middle and outer suburbs
  • assisting circumferential travel through the middle suburbs as opportunities for cross town movement are limited
  • linking the growing populations in the south-east and west suburbs to jobs and economic opportunities throughout the metropolitan area
  • providing access to Melbourne Airport, the ports of Melbourne and Geelong, and rail freight terminals, from all parts of Melbourne and from across the State
  • provide good access to the whole of the Melbourne metropolitan area to and from country Victoria and interstate.

Route

EJ Whitten Bridge

The Western Ring Road is 28 km long, and the Metropolitan Ring Road is 10 km long, for a total length of 38 km. The freeway changes its name at the Hume Freeway (Craigieburn Bypass). The freeway had previously changed its name at Sydney Road, but that point shifted with the opening of the Bypass, extending the Western Ring Road by 2 km.

A major feature of the road is the EJ Whitten Bridge over the Maribyrnong River, named after Australian rules football player Ted Whitten.

The road is divided, carries between two and four lanes of traffic in either direction, and has a non-peak speed limit of 100 km/h for almost its entire length; between Greensborough Bypass and Plenty Road, the speed limit drops to 90 km/h and the road is undivided (although there are still two lanes in either direction). The Western Ring Road between the Western Highway and the Tullamarine Freeway is configured with variable speed limits, which can vary between 60 km/h and 100 km/h depending upon traffic conditions.

The off-peak travel time for the Ring Road is 25 minutes: 19 minutes on the Western Ring Road and 6 minutes on the Metropolitan Ring Road. Peak-hour travel times typically vary between 30–40 minutes, unless there are accidents which can stretch travel times beyond an hour. The road is generally at its heaviest at the Western Highway, Pascoe Vale Road and Edgars Road in the Greensborough direction; in the Altona direction, Dalton Road and Pascoe Vale Road are the slowest points.

Exits and Interchanges

Western / Metropolitan Ring Road Australian National Route M80.svg Australian Alphanumeric State Route M80.svg
Northbound exits Distance to
Greensborough
(km)
Distance to
Melbourne
(km)
Southbound exits
Australian traffic lights ahead sign.png Traffic Lights (clockwise from freeway)
Greensborough Highway Australian State Route 46.svg to Diamond Creek (7km) and Kinglake (36km)
Greensborough Highway Australian State Route 46.svg to Greensborough (3km) and Heidelberg (7km)
End Metropolitan Ring Road Australian Alphanumeric State Route M80.svg 3 34 Start Metropolitan Ring Road Australian Alphanumeric State Route M80.svg
Whittlesea, Bundoora
Plenty Road Australian State Route 27.svg
5 32 Bundoora, Whittlesea
Plenty Road Australian State Route 27.svg
Epping, Reservoir
Dalton Road
8 29 Reservoir, Epping
Dalton Road
EPPING RAIL LINE 9 28 EPPING RAIL LINE
Thomastown, To Australian State Route 29.svg via Epping
Edgars Road
10 27 To Australian State Route 48.svg via Campbellfield, Thomastown
Edgars Road
Northbound exits Distance to
Sydney
(km)
Distance to
Melbourne
(km)
Southbound exits
End Western Ring Road Australian National Route M80.svg
continues as Metropolitan Ring Road Australian Alphanumeric State Route M80.svg
855 25 Seymour, Sydney
Hume Freeway Australian National Route M31.svg
Seymour, Sydney
Hume Freeway Australian National Route M31.svg
End Metropolitan Ring Road Australian Alphanumeric State Route M80.svg
continues as Western Ring Road Australian National Route M80.svg
Craigieburn, Coburg
Sydney Road Australian State Route 55.svg
857 23 Coburg, Craigieburn
Sydney Road Australian State Route 55.svg
UPFIELD RAIL LINE UPFIELD RAIL LINE
NORTH EAST RAIL LINE 859 21 NORTH EAST RAIL LINE
Broadmeadows, Glenroy
Pascoe Vale Road Australian State Route 35.svg
no exit
Sunbury
Tullamarine Freeway Australian Alphanumeric State Route M2.PNGAustralian State Route 43.svg Melbourne Airport
862 18 Melbourne, Sunbury
Tullamarine Freeway Australian Alphanumeric State Route M2.PNGAustralian State Route 43.svg Melbourne Airport
Tullamarine, Airport West
Melrose Drive Australian State Route 39.svg
Northbound exits Distance to
Sydney
(km)
Distance to
Adelaide
(km)
Southbound exits
Tullamarine, Airport West
Airport Drive
Westfield Drive
864 725 Airport West, Tullamarine
Westfield Drive
Airport Drive
Melbourne
Calder Freeway Australian Alphanumeric State Route M79.svg
866 723 Bendigo
Calder Freeway Australian Alphanumeric State Route M79.svg
To Australian Alphanumeric State Route M79.svg via Bendigo; Keilor Park, Avondale Heights
Keilor Park Drive Australian State Route 39.svg
868 721 Keilor Park, Avondale Heights
Keilor Park Drive Australian State Route 39.svg
Taylors Lakes, Sunshine
McIntyre Road Australian State Route 41.svg
Sunshine Avenue Australian State Route 41.svg
872 717 Sunshine, Taylors Lakes
McIntyre Road Australian State Route 41.svg
Sunshine Avenue Australian State Route 41.svg
St Albans, Sunshine
Furlong Road
874 715 Sunshine, St Albans
Furlong Road
BENDIGO RAIL LINE 875 714 BENDIGO RAIL LINE
Deer Park, Sunshine
Ballarat Road Australian State Route 8.svg
876 713 Sunshine, Deer Park
Ballarat Road Australian State Route 8.svg
WESTERN RAIL LINE 877 712 WESTERN RAIL LINE
Northbound exits Distance to
Adelaide
(km)
Distance to
Melbourne
(km)
Southbound exits
End Australian Alphanumeric State Route M80.svg
continues as Australian National Route M80.svg
711 18 Ballarat, Adelaide
Western Freeway Australian National Route M8.svg
Laverton, Ardeer
Fitzgerald Road
Ardeer, Laverton
Fitzgerald Road
Ballarat, Adelaide
Western Freeway Australian National Route M8.svg
End Australian National Route M80.svg
continues as Australian Alphanumeric State Route M80.svg
Mobil SERVICE CENTRE 712 17 Mobil SERVICE CENTRE
Truganina, To Australian State Route 83.svg via Footscray
Boundary Road Australian State Route 32.svg
713 16 To Australian State Route 83.svg via Footscray, Truganina
Boundary Road Australian State Route 32.svg
Start Western Ring Road Australian Alphanumeric State Route M80.svg
continues from West Gate Freeway Australian Alphanumeric State Route M1.svg
714 15 Geelong
Princes Freeway Australian Alphanumeric State Route M1.svg Avalon Airport
End Western Ring Road Australian Alphanumeric State Route M80.svg
continues as West Gate Freeway Australian Alphanumeric State Route M1.svg
to Melbourne

2009 - 2012 Upgrade

In late 2009, construction began to upgrade and widen 38km of the M80 from Princes Freeway at Laverton North to the Greensborough Highway at Greensborough.[4]

The first stage involves widening the 9.7km stretch from Calder Freeway to Sydney Road to 6-8 lanes.[5]

See also

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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