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A PREFERRED route, which will increase the cost of the North East Link, has been chosen by an Andrews Government Cabinet subcommittee.
The chosen route will cost between $10 billion and $13 billion to build, will run through three electorates and require dozens of homes and businesses to be acquired.
It is expected to be officially announced as the preferred route immediately after being ticked off by Cabinet on Monday afternoon.
It is also understood the project would be accompanied with compensation for school and community groups in Opposition Leader Matthew Guy’s seat of Bulleen.
The preferred route, known as option A, was one of four being considered by the subcommittee.
It is the cheapest and most direct way to join the M80 in Greensborough to the Eastern Freeway, but the decision is likely to spark heated discussion about whether the dumped East West Link needs to be revisited.
Earlier this week, the Herald Sun revealed Mr Guy would revisit the dumped toll road if he won next year’s state election.
Mr Guy has written to businesses saying “the East West Link must be constructed before any North East Link option” and said construction companies could tender for them as one project.
The chosen North East Link route will link the M80 to the Eastern Freeway via Bulleen Rd and will be 11km long and include tunnelling of between 3.5 and 4km.
However, Banyule mayor Tom Melican slammed the option, saying it would cut the municipality in half.
“We are concerned, extremely concerned, if we get this wrong the rat running in our area will increase, not decrease,” Mr Melican said.
“The lack of information has made people very angry.”
Mr Melican also doubted the road’s ability to cut congestion. It is understood community groups are already preparing to rally against Corridor A this weekend.
Boroondara Council has also previously spoken out against the route saying it preferred Corridor C via St Helena and Eltham, which would require extensive tunnelling.
Minister for Roads Luke Donnellan said: “We said that we’d nominate a preferred corridor for North East Link before the end of the year and that’s exactly what we’ll do.
“This road has long been talked about, but only Labor is building it.
“We’ve done more community consultation than has ever been conducted for a Victorian road project.”
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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