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The North East Link Project (the project) is the biggest road transport project in Victoria's history.

The project contractors will build:

  • interchanges at:
    • M80 Ring Road
    • Grimshaw Street
    • Lower Plenty Road
    • Manningham Road
    • Bulleen Road
  • a dedicated busway along the Eastern Freeway
  • twin three-lane tunnels.
  • Contractors have started early construction works on the project. It is due for completion in 2027.

    EPA's role

    As Victoria’s environmental regulator, EPA advises the project on: 

    • managing contaminated soil and other waste 
    • air quality 
    • managing water and groundwater 
    • noise mitigation measures. 

    EPA issued a works approval for tunnel ventilation system

    Under the Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises) Regulations 2017, the project needed a works approval to build the tunnel ventilation system. The project based their application on a reference design. EPA assessed the works approval application for potential impacts including: 

    • air and noise emissions 
    • greenhouse gas 
    • energy efficiency 
    • ventilation system design best practice.

    We issued a works approval (PDF 450KB), subject to conditions. We also produced a non-technical summary, North East Link tunnel ventilation system works approval decision (publication 1832). The full works approval assessment report (PDF 3.1MB) is also available.

    On 1 July 2021, the new Environment Protection Act 2017 and Environment Protection Regulations 2021 commenced. These laws introduced a new environment protection model for Victoria, including a new permissions scheme. Works approvals have been replaced by development licences under this scheme.

    EPA issued an updated development licence (PDF 861 KB) and notice of amendment (PDF 262 KB) on 10 August 2021.

    On 28 October 2021, Spark was awarded the contract to build, operate and maintain the North East Link tunnels.  The Spark consortium comprises WeBuild, GS Engineering and Construction, CPB Contractors, China Construction Oceania, Ventia, Capella Capital, John Laing, DIF and Pacific Partnerships.  EPA transferred the development licence (PDF 351KB) from the Secretary to the Department of Transport to Spark North East Link Pty Ltd on 16 December 2021 under section 56 of the Environment Protection Act 2017.

    Environment Effects Statement (EES) process

    EPA provides technical and regulatory advice to the project. Our advice helps the project comply with the Environment Protection Act 2017 and Environment Protection Regulations 2021. We encourage the project to use best practice and reduce the risk of harm to human health and the environment.

    The Minister for Planning required the Environmental Effects Statement (EES) process. The EES assessed the project’s potential environmental, social, economic and planning impacts. The project’s Environmental Performance Requirements from the EES process provide an approach to manage these impacts. The EES documents are available from North East Link Project.

    Potential environmental impacts

    Preliminary work has started on the project. Contractors have started to move power, water, gas, sewer and telecommunications lines. This is so main works can begin in 2022.

    The Civil construction, building and demolition guide (publication 1834) (the guidelines) outlines what we expect of the project and their contractors during construction. The main aspects of the guidelines that apply to the project are:

    • People nearby shouldn't be able to hear noise from the project:
      • in any habitable room of a residential premises
      • from 10 pm to 7 am Monday to Sunday.

    This doesn’t apply if the works are unavoidable. The Environment Protection Act 2017 defines the meaning of a habitable room.

    • When unavoidable works will affect people, the project or their contractors should tell them:
      • when the noise will occur
      • how long the noise will go on for.

    Our Civil construction, building and demolition guide (publication 1834) and Construction - guide to preventing harm to people and the environment (publication 1820) give advice on how to minimise environmental impacts from construction activities.

    Unavoidable works

    The project may consider works that cannot be practicably and safely completed during normal business hours to be unavoidable. They include works that:

    • involve continuous work, for example a concrete pour  
    • pose an unacceptable risk to life or property  
    • risk a major traffic hazard  
    • could cause a major disruption to the transport system.  

    The project or their contractors sometimes can’t avoid noisy works. They must show they have made all reasonable efforts to limit the impact of noise on the local community. 

    Waste and soil from demolition and construction

    The project must manage waste soil in a way that complies with Victoria’s environmental laws. EPA provides RPV with guidance on how it should manage its waste. Our Guide to classifying industrial waste (publication 1968) and Waste disposal categories - characteristics and thresholds (publication 1828) provides information the project can use to manage its waste soil in the right way. 

    Stay informed and report issues

    Construction noise requirements are part of the project's approval conditions. The project builder has contractual obligations to manage noise and vibration. You can report noise and vibration to the North East Link Project.

    How to contact the North East Link Project

    1800 105 105 (24 hours)


    How to contact EPA to report dust or other environmental issues

    Call our pollution hotline on 1300 372 842. We're here 24 hours.

    Report pollution online. Register and report through the EPA Interaction Portal.

    Reviewed 14 January 2022