The “congestion-busting” North East Link is expected to cut commuter times by up to 30 minutes and curtail the number of crashes on local roads.
Premier Daniel Andrews released the business case for the $16.5 billion toll road on Sunday, claiming it would bring a return of $1.30 for every dollar invested.
That increased to $1.40 when wider economic benefits such as better freight connections were considered, the government said.
It would connect the M80 Ring Road to the Eastern Freeway at Greensborough in Melbourne’s northeast once completed in 2027.
The business case found there would be 100 fewer crashes on local roads every year.
Mr Andrews said the project would “give local roads back to local residents”.
It’s expected to take 15,000 trucks off local roads every day, and 32,000 vehicles would be diverted off Greensborough Road.
Between 110,000 and 130,000 vehicles are predicted to use the North East Link, saving up to 30 minutes in travel times between the Eastern Freeway and M80.
Construction will begin in 2020 if the government is re-elected in November, bringing an estimated 10,300 construction jobs.
Roads Minister Luke Donnellan said the government was taking the “massive project to an election so Victorians can have their say”.
Shadow Public Transport Minister David Davis called on the government to say what the toll will be.
The business case said it would based on similar rates on other Melbourne toll roads.
Mr Davis said the Premier had no credibility after “squandering” $1.3 billion by dumping the East West Link contract signed by the former Coalition government.
“So Daniel Andrews comes with no credibility, having the blood and the sweat of taxpayers on his hands after the cancellation of the East West contract,” Mr Davis said.
The opposition wants the East West Link built before the North East Link.
Mr Donnellan said that plan was a “dud” and its business case did not stack up.