Originally designated F-19 during its construction in the early 1970s, it was supposed to be linked to the then-new Tullamarine Freeway, as well as taking traffic off the Maroondah Highway. Protests from inner Melbourne suburbs residents led it being terminated at Hoddle Street. Its initial route designation was then and now the . The current incarnation was constructed in stages from 1977 to 2008:
- Stage 1: From Hoddle Street to Bulleen Road; opened in December 1977.
- Stage 2: From Bulleen Road to Doncaster Road; opened on 3 June 1982.
- Stage 3: From Doncaster Road to Springvale Road; opened in December 1997.
- Stage 4: From Springvale Road to the Frankston Freeway
Originally, the freeway was to terminate at the intersection of Maroondah Highway and Mount Dandenong Road in Ringwood. It was meant to connect to the Eastern Ring Road before that. Instead, the Eastern Ring Road and the last Eastern Freeway extension was merged into one project (Eastlink) and the remainder of the Eastern Freeway reservation was built into the Ringwood bypass, which opened in July 2008.
The first stage from Hoddle Street to Bulleen Road, met much opposition and later controversy as it was constructed through the middle of the Yarra Bend Park, at the time a National Park. The first two stages were designed to enable the construction of the Doncaster railway line to be built down the middle of it to Bulleen Road, with support pylons for bridges kept out of the extra wide median strip.
Land was reserved to build the railway line to East Doncaster, but the plan fell out of favour in the 1980s and the land was sold. In recent years, amidst growing congestion problems and increased awareness of unsustainable methods of transport in Melbourne, there has been massive local council lobbying (by Melbourne, Yarra and Manningham) and public pressure placed on the State Government for the rail line to be constructed. The final stage, completed in 2008, connected the freeway to the Ringwood Bypass and the Monash and Frankston Freeways.
Read more about this topic: Eastern Freeway (Melbourne)
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