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On Tuesday 16th April, 2019 25 members and friends of the Donvale Hill Probus Club Inc. met in the bright multi-coloured green building which overlooks the EastLink tollway on Maroondah Highway, Ringwood. The Host for the tour was Doug Spencer-Roy, Marketing Manager of EastLink. 

The EastLink tollway was a $2.5 billion project built by Theiss and John Holland and operated by the ConnectEast Group, a privately-owned company. It was opened to traffic on 29th June 2008 with a toll-free period before tolls started on 27th July 2008. EastLink was privatized in 2011 and Concession ends in 2043. 

The fully electronic tollway is 40km long, bypasses 45 traffic lights and connects the Eastern, Monash, Frankston and Peninsula Link freeway. There are approximately 250,000 vehicle trips per day of which 20,000 are heavy commercial vehicles, 30,000 light commercial vehicles with an average speed of about 95km/hr and is the second busiest tollway in Australia. There are approximately 900,000 tags issued to customers and these may be used on any tollway in Australia. EastLink is the safest freeway in Melbourne with a casualty accident rate of just 1.59 per 100 million vehicle kilometres. 

The 1.6km long north/southbound tunnels protect the environmentally sensitive Mullum Mullum Valley. A now completed upgrade of EastLink's 10 exhaust fans, to incorporate variable speed drives and a new automatic control system, has reduced power usage by 70%, audible noise levels and improved air quality. 

Four millions native trees, shrubs and plants have been planted with another

20,000 planted last year. The 60 wetland areas treat rainwater that falls on EastLink before being released into creeks and stormwater drains. There is a 35km EastLink Trail for cyclists, pedestrians and runners, with 12 public artworks, distinctive architectural features including noise panels and pedestrian bridges. 

The Group were shown the 24/7 Incident Control Room which is operated by two people working a 12 hour shift for 6 days, then 4 days off. The customer service call Centre employs local people with local knowledge. 

Gantries on the tollway have cameras which photograph the front and rear of each vehicle, detect the vehicle speed, determine its height, width and length and identify the number plate. Tag detectors identify any tag on the vehicle and record time and date. This data is then sent to the main system to identify the trip for that vehicle. A toll cap may then be applied. The numberplate recognition system identifies about 94% of vehicles that do not have tags. Motorbikes are charged ½, light commercial vehicles 1.6 times and heavy commercial vehicles 2.6 times the car charge. Infringement penalty just over $150.00 per day is handled by Fines Victoria. 

EastLink’s high performance Key Performance Indicators (as agreed with the State Government) has never incurred a penalty. There is a $3 million (escalating to $20 million) penalty per year for the number of points lost. 

Many users of the tollway have passed the distinctive “green” building near the entrance to the tunnels. The tour enabled all to better understand the EastLink system and the vital role of the staff who operate the tollway.


Thank you to Ken Falconer OAM for arranging this very informative Probus tour. 

Beverley McArthur