An independent study has found the East West Link will cut peak travel times in Melbourne’s north by almost a hour each day.
The study by engineering consultant TraffixGroup predicts the multibillion-dollar project will take half an hour off commutes during morning and evening peak times.
“People are trying to get home to see their family and their friends, but with the traffic we are seeing today, it can take more than an hour to drive the 10 kilometres from CityLink to the Eastern Freeway,” Premier Denis Napthine told reporters on Wednesday.
In the study commissioned by the Victorian government, TraffixGroup examined vehicle loads on Alexandra Parade during May, finding it took an average of 34 minutes to get from the Eastern Freeway to CityLink during the morning peak.
The study found that trip will be cut to eight minutes when the link is built.
But Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said Victorians deserved to vote on whether the road should be built.
“If Denis Napthine believes this is such a great project, take it to the election,” Mr Andrews said.
“Let Victorians decide if they want billions and billions of their dollars spent on a road that undoubtedly costs a lot but doesn’t do much.”
Dr Napthine said Alexandra Parade was the main way for motorists to get across Melbourne’s north, and it was busy seven days a week.
“Alexandra Parade on a weekend is an absolute congestion nightmare,” Dr Napthine said.
The modelling is based on 80,000 vehicles using the East West Link each day when it opens in 2019, rising to 120,000 vehicles by 2031.
Dr Napthine said the study was based on an assumed toll price but he could not reveal what it was because the government was negotiating with bidders.
“It’s got to be attractive and competitive,” he said.
Dr Napthine said tolls on the East West Link would be comparable to existing tolling, but would not say when prices would be released publicly.
* Average 34 minutes from Eastern Freeway to Citylink in morning
* Average 41 minutes the other way in evening
* Maximum 55 minutes in evening peak
* Cut to eight minutes each way with East West Link.