Australia: Melbourne, the city aiming to become a metropolis

Large infrastructure projects such as the North East Link are responding to the needs emerging from the increase of the city’s population

The center of Melbourne is more congested than ever today. The main arteries, as well as the smaller streets, are bustling with people and cars, all contributing to the vitality of this great city, which is striving to transform into a metropolis.

Among metropolitan lines, old and new, pedestrian paths, and roads under reconstruction, the passersby’s eyes fall upon the construction sites of the North East Link PPP Primary Package, commonly known as NEL. It’s an ambitious project aimed at creating a network of underground tunnels to divert traffic away from congested surface roads. This feat is noteworthy not only because it’s Australia’s largest infrastructure project realized through a public-private partnership (PPP), but also because it promises to bring forth an invisible highway, whose route will run underground within the urban agglomeration. The Spark consortium, which includes the Webuild Group, is currently engaged in its realization. The Webuild Group is also involved in ambitious projects spanning from Melbourne to Perth, Sydney, and the Snowy Mountains, supporting Australia’s ambition to renew its infrastructure.

Melbourne, the city reborn through great works

As part of the NEL project, Webuild is currently involved in the design and construction of two three-lane twin tunnels, totaling approximately 6.5 kilometers in length. This forms part of a much broader project that aims to connect the M-80 Ring Road with the Eastern Freeway in the north of the city. The main goal of this new road artery is to unite two strategic flow axes that currently lie on opposite sides of the city. Once inaugurated, the tunnels are expected to remove 15,000 trucks from local roads each day and reduce commuting times for citizens by an average of 35 minutes.

The grandiosity of this project and its impact on both commuters and the lives of Melbourne’s inhabitants perfectly exemplify the significant strides the city is taking in terms of transportation, sustainable mobility, and overall quality of life.

Melbourne and Sydney, the demographic challenge of the two Australian metropolises

Demographers had expected that Melbourne would surpass Sydney in population by 2030, while until then, Sydney would maintain its position as Australia’s most populous city. However, due to an administrative decision that annexed new municipalities to Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria has already surpassed 4.8 million inhabitants, making it the largest city in the country.

According to Liz Allen, a demographer from the Australian National University, “Melbourne has become a highly attractive place among more recent waves of overseas migration to Australia, particularly among people born in India. Growing community networks pull subsequent new arrivals from India to the Melbourne area.”

In general, Melbourne remains an attractive destination for young people, professionals, and businesses, leading to the need for balanced modernization and growth. Pursuing this goal is crucial in the economic, cultural, and social development of the city, demonstrating its ability to ride the demographic boom by offering both long-time residents and newcomers a smart and sustainable metropolis, complete with a range of innovative services.