(Xinhua/GNA) — Australian Victorian and federal governments announced 1.08 billion U.S dollar facelift to the Melbourne Airport road link to cut travel time to the airport by up to 20 minutes, according to a statement released Thursday.

The revamp of one of Melbourne’s major freeways, the CityLink and Tullamarine freeways, would result in extra lanes, meaning a higher capacity to take commuters to and from the airport which is located 23 kilometres from the city centre, said the statement.

Melbourne Airport has revealed in record numbers of passengers in the 2014/15 financial year, with a 9 percent jump in international passenger arrivals compared to the 2013/14 period.

The numbers are only expected to grow, with more international and domestic services scheduled to begin throughout 2015, including services to and from Singapore, Beijing and Colombo.

The CityLink-Tullamarine path between the airport and the city is one of the most congested in Melbourne, with commuters using the roads to access the northern suburbs often causing delay for those attempting to get to the airport.

The statement said that up to 210,000 vehicles use the thoroughfare every day.

The federal government had announced it would contribute 160 million U.S dollars to the project, and Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said that the upgrades would not only reduce travel times, but also increase road safety in the area.

“The installation of a freeway management system, including modern technology such as ramp signaling and variable message signs, will help to reduce the congestion while making the roads safer for the large volume of motorists,” he said in the statement.

Victorian roads minister Luke Donnellan said the widening project would serve to ease congestion for future generations.

“We’re widening this congested freeway from the foot of the CBD to the front door of the terminal,” he said in the statement.

He expected that those catching flights at Melbourne airport could shave up to half an hour off their travel times.

“On average, drivers will save 16 minutes in the morning peak and 17 minutes in the afternoon peak — if you’re lying interstate for business in the morning and coming back in the evening, our upgrade will save you over half an hour on the road,” said Donnellan.

Major construction will start in October and is due for completion in 2018.

GNA

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