East West Link is a proposed 18 kilometre freeway that will connect the Eastern Freeway at Clifton Hill with the Western Ring Road at Sunshine West. East West Link is proposed to be constructed in two sections:
- Eastern Section (Stage 1) – A six kilometre link that will connect the Eastern Freeway at Clifton Hill to CityLink at Parkville. This section may be delivered through a Public Private Partnership. A contract with the preferred consortium, East West Connect, to construct and operate the Eastern section, was signed on 30 September 2014.
- Western Section (Stage 2) – A 12 kilometre link that will connect Appleton Dock Road at the Port of Melbourne to the Western Ring Road at Sunshine West.
- Port Connection – A separate link connecting CityLink at Parkville to Appleton Dock Road at the Port of Melbourne.
The East West Link will provide a cross-city alternative to the heavily-used Eastern, Monash and West Gate Freeways (the M1 corridor) and reduce reliance on the West Gate Bridge. It will also improve connectivity to critical destinations such as the Port of Melbourne and Melbourne International Airport, improving travel choice for business and individuals accessing goods, services, education and employment.
East West Link will reduce travel times by up to 20 minutes for commuters travelling from areas such as Geelong and Ballarat to the City. The Eastern section alone is expected to allow 80,000 to 100,000 vehicles each day to bypass around 23 sets of traffic lights.
East West Link will improve accessibility to important economic and employment centres across the City and will provide an immediate boost to the economy by creating approximately 6,000 jobs during peak construction periods of both sections. It will also contribute to urban renewal by creating a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists by removing up to 20,000 trucks each day that currently travel through residential streets.
The Australian Government has announced that it stands ready to meet its $3 billion commitment to the East West Link should a future Government of Victoria move to construct this important project.
On 12 December 2014, the current Victorian Government announced that it had suspended all work on the project.