Victorian State Government

North East Link

North East Link

Integrated design consortium creates winning outcome for the North East Link Project

The winning design for the newly-approved NELP was created by a specialist design consortium – comprising Warren and Mahoney, BKK Architects, T.C.L, and Indigenous design experts, Greenaway Architects.


The collective of design experts led the integrated transport solution that will make travel faster and easier – connecting more people to employment, education, community and opportunity. The proposed design also employs the thinking of First Nations People and leading sustainability innovations.

In consultation with Wurundjeri (Woi-Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation), three core pillars – Connection to Country, Caring for Country, and Connecting People – guided the project and team approach. Through applying these core pillars at every stage of the project, the team sought to create an enduring legacy.

Sustainable practices were also always front of mind in the design of NELP. The project will intentionally ‘touch the earth lightly’ by optimising structural elements to reduce the volume of materials and embodied carbon, cultivate more green spaces, positively impact the natural waterways and resources, and create new parklands and public spaces for the community to connect.


Eight key benefits will be brought to life across the integrated design approach:

  • Longer Tunnel By lengthening the NELP tunnel we can create connected, vibrant communities and a leafy Greensborough Boulevard. The longer tunnel length of the trench will reduce impact on Simpson Barracks and the local community. The 6.5km tunnel will also provide significant opportunity for sustainability innovation. New green spaces will be activated above the tunnel path, and a new land bridge over the southern portal will link the ecologies of the Yarra River and the Koonung Creek.
  • New Cultural Precinct for Melbourne The design team recognised the enormous opportunity NELP presented to recognise and celebrate shared history and cultural values. From the culturally significant Birrarung (Yarra River) for Wurundjeri, to Heide Museum of Modern Art, and the cherished village of Watsonia – places of community have remained at the heart of this design.
  • Photovoltaic Noise Walls The proposed design showcases environmental sustainability leadership, with the potential to include one of the largest solar photovoltaic infrastructure applications in the world for a road project. This will have the capacity to generate more than 2MW of power that can be fed directly to the tunnel when demand is required.
  • Three Land Bridges Generous landscaped bridges aim to assist greatly in connecting different communities and creating new parklands. The design language of the project’s land and foot bridges are inspired by Indigenous artefacts, and will not only improve connectivity and liveability between suburbs, but also provide an enduring positive legacy for all Victorians conceived through the lens of First Peoples.
  • Revitalised Koonung Creek The project design also reimagines waterways, pathways and parklands for this crucial linear habitat. The proposal recommends a regenerative approach with Koonung Creek, which had previously been reduced to a highly-polluted waterway in a stormwater pipe. By employing a design techniques called ‘daylighting’, which brings the creek water out from underground and back to the surface, its quality will naturally improve and support more biodiversity.
  • Simplified Manningham Interchange A smaller Manningham Interchange will enable the release of land for habitat, value-capture opportunity, and the landmark Wurundjeri cultural precinct.
  • New Boulevard for Melbourne’s North-East A reimagined, tree-lined Greensborough Boulevard with walking and cycling paths will involve the planting of hundreds of new trees.
  • Improved Community Connections Overall, the design aims to enhance existing connections and provide new links to stitch communities together. The “whole-corridor” approach celebrates the unique characteristics of the Ridgeline, Yarra River Valley, and Koonung Creek Valley areas. It aims to protect, maintain and enhance North-East Melbourne through neighbourhood improvements, sensitive transitions to road infrastructure, enhanced open spaces, and more walking and cycling connections.


The Victorian State government will now move forward with the construction of the project, which is expected to be completed by 2027.


Victorian State Government


Warren and Mahoney, T.C.L, and Greenaway Architects


Urban Design & Infrastructure




2019 – 2021


Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation