Melbourne’s new airport road system, designed to carry more than 5,000 vehicles a day, will begin construction next week.
The new road will connect the existing Tullamarine Freeway with the Terminal 4 car park by 2021 and is designed to be an efficient elevated loop system.
Terminal 4 is the newest of four terminals at Melbourne Airport. Opened in 2015, the terminal – situated to the south of Terminal 3 – comes complete with its own parking facilities, which already alleviates pressure on legacy parking facilities.
Home to Jetstar, Tigerair and Regional Express, Terminal 4 is widely regarded as one of the highest spec, low-cost airline terminals in the region.
With a budget airline focus, the facility caters for travellers who generally don’t have access to airline lounges. As such, the vast array of food and beverage outlets, as well as a wide selection of retail stores, is a boon for travellers.
Additionally, the terminal introduced a host of modern innovations to Melbourne Airport, including intuitive signage as well as large and easy to read electronic flight display screens, designed to make the in-airport experience as seamless as possible.
However, with passengers at Melbourne Airport forecast to increase from 37 million people to nearly 70 million people by 2038, improving road access to the airport has become an issue high on the facility’s agenda.
With the airport announcing on Tuesday that it will invest $60 million in the new loop road over the next year, Melbourne Airport is signalling its willingness to prepare for the influx of travellers in the coming decade.
Of the new loop road, chief commercial officer of Landside Access, Lorie Argus, said the investment is aimed at catering for forecast passenger growth, adding: “We’re focused on improving the traveller experience from freeway to runway and the elevated loop road is going to make it easier and faster for people to reach Terminal 4, which services Jetstar, Tigerair and REX travellers.”
With the T4 works forming part of the airport’s major development plan, the loop road is seen as the first step in a series of planned road access upgrades, designed to improve the driver experience across the airport precinct.
Construction works have been awarded to Seymour Whyte, an Australian construction company established in Queensland in 1987.
The organisation’s CEO and managing director, John Kirkwood, said he was looking forward to working on the project to deliver the first stage of the airport’s Major Development Plan.
“This contract award demonstrates Seymour Whyte’s versatility and diverse capabilities, leveraging off the expertise gained working on similar complex airport infrastructure projects,” Kirkwood said.
“We are committed to ensuring that the project’s planned operational, social and economic benefits are achieved through innovative and sustainable solutions – and that we deliver a quality asset of long-term value for Melbourne Airport and the people of Victoria.”
The airport said data shows more roads are needed by 2025 to avoid travellers being stuck in traffic for “around 30 minutes”, with Argus adding: “Our elevated loop road upgrades will future-proof Melbourne Airport for international and domestic traveller growth while reducing stress for passengers.”
To alleviate this concern, a further $260 million has been flagged for the second stage of upgrades to Melbourne Airport’s existing road system.
Future works will see a similar freeway link created to better connect the Terminal 1,2, and 3 car parks to the Victorian road system.