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Government seeks heritage listing for one of Melbourne’s most congested roads

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One of Melbourne’s most congested roads may receive heritage protection, and there are concerns it could stop the construction of the North East Link.

The Eastern Freeway, between Bulleen Road and Hoddle Street, has been nominated for heritage listing.

The heritage value of the section of road, which was built in the late 1960s and early 1970s, was assessed ahead of the proposed North East Link.

North East Link CEO, Duncan Elliott, said the design of the road has been identified as significant and put forward to Heritage Victoria for potential protection.

“There are aspects and characteristics of that section of the Eastern Freeway which could meet or significantly satisfy a number of the criteria for the heritage listing,” he told 3AW’s Ross and John.

“It’s a bit surprising, I know, that a freeway can potentially qualify for heritage listing.

“But when you think about that corridor and the form of the bridges, and the rock wall embankments, and the light masts and a few other elements that are there, it was the first example of an urban design led road transport corridor.”

Mr Elliott said the road may not be granted heritage listing, and even if it is, he says it won’t drastically affect the construction of the North East Link.

“If it is registered, there is a permit process that’s required for any works that are undertaken. We would be required to undertake specific design activities or construction techniques in accord with any such permit.”

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Peter Kartsidimas, Senior Manager of Transport at the RACV, said he is concerned if the freeway is heritage listed it could open the floodgates for other freeways.

“Every road that’s constructed goes through a rigorous design process,” he said.

“Most freeways in Australia would have had some elements of urban design, landscaping and architecture as part of it.

“Yes, this is of a particular era, but every other freeway is also of a particular era.”

Mr Kartsidimas expressed concern about the impact heritage listing could have on infrastructure development.

“Anyone who has got a property that’s heritage listed knows the complexities involved in making any chance to that property,” he said.

“If we want to make changes to these key transport corridors it could impact us in five, ten, 15 or even 20 years time.”

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