Melbourne's worst traffic intersections will be ripped up and replaced with "closed diamond" underpasses if the coalition opposition wins the next state election.

The $5.3 billion program will see 55 of Melbourne and Geelong’s most dangerous and congested level crossings replaced over an eight-year period.

“Traffic congestion costs our economy around $5.54 billion a year … (it) makes our arterial roads dangerous for all road users,” Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said on Monday.

“Residents will be very pleased that intersections will be free flowing and not chock-a-block full of traffic.”

The policy mirrors Labor’s 2014 commitment to get rid of 50 train level crossings, as both parties aim to win votes from the city’s increasing number of commuters.

It will be funded in part by the sale of Victoria’s share in the Snowy Hydro scheme for as much as $1.8 billion.

Mr Guy said despite investment in Melbourne’s public transport, census data shows 74 per cent of residents still drive to work, as Victoria’s population grows by 100,000 people a year.

He was adamant that the “closed diamond” underpasses were not freeway-style clovers, and they would mainly remain within the footprints of current intersections.

“They are used in South Australia, used in Brisbane,” Mr Guy said.

The plan calls for $1.75 billion from state coffers, matched by $1.75 billion from the federal government.

But Roads Minister Luke Donnellan questioned the practicality of the proposal.

“The last time they were in they had four years and they failed to complete and start one major duplication in the outer suburbs,” he told reporters.

“This will cost a lot of money … this requires substantial funds, it requires well-executed plans to actually make it work.”

Mr Guy’s plan also calls for new freeways “like the East West Link”, which was set to start construction before Labor tore up the contracts at a cost of $1.2 billion, and a continuation of Labor’s level crossing removal plan.

Under the proposal, the Level Crossing Removal Authority would be expanded and renamed Intersection Removal Victoria.


By Angus Livingston