State government seeks heritage protection for Eastern Fwy
One of Victoria's worst traffic bottlenecks would get heritage protection under a bizarre state government plan that also threatens the future construction of the East West Link.
The Eastern Freeway has been nominated by the Transport Department to join city icons including Flinders Street station, the MCG and Parliament House on the state's heritage register.
Heritage consultants say the section between Hoddle St and Bulleen Rd - a congestion nightmare for motorists - has "aesthetic and historical heritage values" for its design and engineering.
The city end of the freeway, built in the 1970s, is used by up to 140,000 vehicles every day and has the slowest average speed of all city freeways.
If heritage protection is granted, plans for the future $10 billion East West Link would be thrown into turmoil, as the new cross-city tunnel would rip up the Hoddle St end of the freeway to help motorists stuck at traffic lights.
Heritage Victoria is considering the government's nomination, which was made as part of the planning process for the $15.8 billion North East Link, connecting the M80 Ring Road to the Eastern Freeway at Bulleen.
But Premier Daniel Andrews is under pressure to stop the heritage push, with the RACV saying it could prevent future improvements to the key road.