From Academic Kids

CityLink is a tolled freeway system in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The company Transurban was awarded the contract to construct two new freeways - labelled the Western and Southern Links - directly linking a number of existing freeways to provide a continuous, high-capacity road route to, and around, the central business district.

Previously, the city centre was served by four separate freeways:


New freeways

The elevated Western Link extends the existing Tullamarine Freeway, lengthening it to terminate it 5 kilometres further south at the West Gate Freeway in Port Melbourne. It includes a new major bridge (the Bolte Bridge, named after former Premier Sir Henry Bolte) over the Yarra River in the Docklands; and a tube-like sound barrier in Flemington where the road passes close to a number of community housing towers (known disparagingly to locals as "Jeff's condom", in reference to Jeff Kennett, the Premier of Victoria at the time of construction). A short distance to the north of the sound tube, a massive sculptural work was placed, called the Melbourne International Gateway (locals also disparagingly dubbing it "Jeff's Erect"), comprising of a giant yellow beam hanging diagonally across the road (nicknamed the "Cheesestick") and a row of smaller red beams alongside the road (the "Ribcage").

The underground Southern Link directly connects the ends of the West Gate and Monash Freeways into one continuous through-way. This link comprises of the Burnley and Domain Tunnels which pass under the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Yarra River, each tunnel channeling traffic in different directions. This link also includes a connection to the CBD from the Monash Freeway over a bridge extension of Exhibition Street over the nearby railway lines.

CityLink contains 22 km of entirely new roads, as well as considerable widening of parts of the Tullamarine and Monash Freeways. Subsequently, parts of these older roads became tolled along with the new. This has attracted varied criticism by users of the road system, annoyed that they now have to pay tolls for sections of road that were previously free: even though they had received extensive upgrading and widening, most road users never had a choice in the decision to do so.

Tolling system

There are no toll booths along the entire length of the system, so traffic flow is not impeded.

CityLink uses a toll system called e-TAG, where an electronic tag is placed on the inside of the vehicles' windscreen. Gantries constructed over each carriageway, carrying toll sensors, track vehicles and deduct toll amounts automatically from the account linked electronically to each tag. Where a tag is not detected, the vehicle's number plate is recorded using an automatic number plate recognition system and the driver is fined via the transport registry in their state, unless they have pre-registered (and paid for) their number plate over the phone before using the system. A "daypass" can be purchased in advance from customer centres or post offices, or up to three days after travelling, before a fine is recorded.

The system came under fire in 2003 when it was found that e-TAGs did not warn drivers when their batteries were running low, and non-functioning batteries caused vehicles not to be detected by the toll sensors, thereby attracting false declarations of toll evasions.


The tolled section begins on the Tullamarine Freeway (43/79) south of Bell Street (40). Interchanges on the tolled section of the Tullamarine Freeway are:

  • Bell Street (40), Pascoe Vale;
  • Moreland Roadd, Brunswick (city-bound ramps only);
  • Ormond Road/Brunswick Road (38), Moonee Ponds (airport-bound ramps only);
  • Mt Alexander Road (79), Parkville (airport-bound ramps only).

The freeway then officially becomes the Citylink "Western Link":

  • Racecourse Road (8/83), Flemington (city-bound ramps only);
  • Dynon Road (50), North Melbourne (airport-bound ramps only);
  • Footscray Road (32), North Melbourne.

The Western Link ends, and cars are diverted onto the West Gate Freeway (M1/2), which is not tolled. The West Gate follows west to cross the Yarra over the West Gate Bridge, and also east:

  • Montague Street (2/30/31), South Melbourne;
  • Kings Way (79/Alt-1), Southbank;
  • Power Street/Sturt Street, Southbank.

The freeway then officially becomes the Citylink "Southern Link":

The West Gate Freeway then flows into the tolled tunnels: the east-bound Burnley Tunnel (resurfacing at the Barkly Avenue exit on the Monash Freeway), and the west-bound Domain tunnel (travelling under Batman Avenue on the Monash Freeway). Interchanges on the tolled section of the Monash Freeway are:

  • Barkly Avenue, Richmond (city-bound ramps only);
  • Yarra Boulevard (2) (suburb-bound ramps only);
  • Toorak Road (26).

The Southern Link continues on as the untolled Monash Freeway, eventually ending as the Princes Freeway 45km later, 5km west of Pakenham.

See also

External links


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