Picking up and dropping off passengers at Melbourne Airport will be streamlined, with the Federal Government granting approval to construct an elevated loop road network that will take an estimated 40,000 cars off Terminal Drive each day.
The two-stage project will reduce traffic congestion and provide a more reliable journey into the airport by creating a separate elevated network for public traffic and commercial transport operators. This is expected to provide a safer environment for pedestrians and reduce the number of pedestrian crossings in the forecourt.
The project is expected to cost around $350 million for both stages and create approximately 500 construction jobs.
The first stage of the project – the T4 Express Link – is an elevated road directly linking the Tullamarine Freeway to the Terminal 4 multi-storey car park. The T4 Express Link will allow vehicles to exit the Tullamarine Freeway onto a purpose-built off-ramp, approximately 500 metres north of the existing Mercer Drive exit. The road will rise over the long-term car park, where it will connect with the existing elevated road. This is expected to deliver a 30% faster journey to Terminal 4 compared to current travel time.
The second stage will see an elevated road connect the T4 Express Link to the Terminal 123 Car Park. Levels 2 and 3 of the existing car park will be repurposed for passenger pick-up and drop-off. The new elevated road will provide an intersection-free journey for public passenger vehicles, and will connect passengers to the terminals via a new pedestrian footbridge. New elevated exit ramps from the T123 Car Park will join back onto the Tullamarine Freeway to complete the journey.
The current forecourt will remain open to commercial vehicles such as SkyBus, taxis, rideshare vehicles, the value car park shuttle bus, and other shuttle services.
Melbourne Airport Chief of Infrastructure Simon Gandy said separating public and commercial vehicles would help reduce congestion and improve safety.
“The number of passengers passing through Melbourne Airport is set to almost double to 67 million by 2038, which will ultimately mean an increase in vehicles,” he said.
“Travellers will no longer need to navigate roundabouts and busy intersections to make their way to the pick-up, drop-off and parking areas, creating a safer, quicker and more convenient experience.
“Without this critical investment in infrastructure, the time it takes to get to the airport could increase by up to 35 minutes during the morning peak hour traffic in the future, so these projects will provide a huge time-saving benefit to travellers.”
Construction of stage one began this month, with completion in 2023, while stage two works will commence in 2023 and be operational by 2025.