The M80 upgrade is a $2.25 billion project to widen and improve the 38km Western & Metropolitan Ring Roads. The M80 is a key transport corridor and the upgrade will improve safety, ease congestion, reduce travel times and improve reliability for all road users, especially during peak periods.
This practice has been appointed urban designers for the M80 which commenced with the development of an Urban Design Strategy to guide the upgrade works. Upgrading an existing busy freeway is a complex and demanding task. Good freeway urban design and landscape adds significantly to public amenity as has been demonstrated by a number of recent prominent road projects around Melbourne.
The urban design components include the design of noise walls, retaining walls, and other road furniture as well as assisting with bridges, piers, gantries, land forming and integrating landscape. Some special aspects involve a 500m long serpentine solar wall and a 500m long plant trellis frame to provide better amenity for road users and the local community. A major feature of the upgrade will be the use of strong colour at a number of locations along the freeway corridor.
“The M80 Ring Road & M2 Tullamarine Interchange is a confident, bold and heroic piece of architectural place making. ..it is a sophisticated, engaging design of multiple elements, responsive to the play of light and the speed of the vehicle-bound viewer…the interchange creates a restrained, powerful urban gateway, asserting the growing importance of the city’s west, and enriching Melbourne’s unique urban narrative.”AIA Urban Design Awards Jury, 2014