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Melbourne may soon get a new, multi-million-dollar fast route to the airport - but it's another freeway, not the long-discussed rail link.
And the new freeway will eat up a portion of a national reserve, the Woodlands Historic Park.
The Melbourne Airport Link is a proposed six-lane road that would see the existing Tullamarine Freeway extended past the airport to make access from the north easier.
The road, which would see 37 properties acquired, has been put forward by VicRoads as part of its long-term planning for the city.
It would not be built for more than a decade, and perhaps as far away as 30 years. Once built, the road would carry around 35,000 cars a day.
A panel of experts reporting to Planning Minister Richard Wynne has found that land for the road should be reserved so that the freeway and a new Bulla Bypass can be built as soon as possible.
The road is designed to take pressure off Sunbury Road, a two‐lane undivided road that carries around 25,000 cars daily, and sees traffic jams in peak times in the township of Bulla.
The new freeway would ultimately join with the yet to be built Outer Metropolitan Ring Road, approved under the Brumby government.
But it will slice in half a number of properties, with a handful of residents in the sparsely populated area at the back of Melbourne Airport, saying they will be badly affected.
Of the 37 parcels of land needed for the road, 17 of them will be sliced in two by the freeway.
Among those affected are harness racing trainers Judith and Kerry O'Riley.
Construction of the freeway will see their property severed in two, and the panel report says this would "severely impact on the harness racing training business carried out on the property and the lifestyle enjoyed by the family".
A rail line to Melbourne Airport has been discussed off and on since it opened in 1970.
Former premier Denis Napthine's promise to build the Melbourne Airport Rail Link was killed off by the Andrews government.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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