The North East Link project will deliver a longer tunnel to Watsonia, a new tree-lined boulevard for Greensborough Road and more than 50 MCGs of new, revived and reconnected parklands, with the major contract now awarded. The North East Link is the missing link in Melbourne’s freeway network – taking thousands of trucks off local roads and slashing travel times. For a tradie in Bundoora, it will open up jobs in Doncaster. A small business in Dandenong can access warehousing in Tullamarine or a kid from Glen Waverley can get to university at La Trobe. On top of boasting Victoria’s longest road tunnels, the North East Link Program will overhaul the Eastern Freeway with six express lanes from Chandler Highway to Middleborough Road.It will also deliver Melbourne’s first dedicated busway, complete the Ring Road in Greensborough and build a North East Trail with more than 34 kilometres of walking and cycling paths, nine more than originally planned.The North East Link tunnels will be 1.9 kilometres longer than originally planned, reducing disruption during construction and creating more room for parklands and wetlands including a ten-hectare community park along Banyule Creek in Yallambie.After four years of consultation with the local community, the longer tunnel paves the way for Greensborough Road to be transformed into a tree-lined boulevard, forming a green gateway to Watsonia with new multi-level train station parking and new community spaces.In Bulleen, a new Yarra Link green bridge near the Eastern Freeway interchange will connect the Koonung Creek Trail to Bulleen Park and a new cultural precinct along the banks of Birrarung (the Yarra River).Revitalised wetlands will re-establish a landscape of significant importance to the Wurundjeri people and create an exciting new cultural space.The Spark consortium has signed a $11.1 billion Public Private Partnership contract, subject to financial close, that locks in a 25-year deal to build, operate and maintain the tunnels, with tolls to go back to the state.