Australia’s state of Victoria has started construction work to upgrade the M80 Ring Road between Edgars Road, Thomastown, and Plenty Road, Bundoora, in Melbourne.

The A$2.25bn ($2.3bn) project is jointly funded by the Australian Government and the Victorian government, under the Nation Building Program.

Terry Mulder, Victorian Minister for Roads, said as Victoria’s biggest road project on the ground, the M80 upgrade is providing a much needed boost to the state’s economy, directly supporting up to 6,500 jobs during the life of the project.

"When completed, the improved freeway with extra lanes and better access will help ease congestion, and reduce travel times and costs for commuters, importantly for road freight industry, with 20,000 trucks currently using the Ring Road each day," said Mulder.

"With works now underway between Edgars Road and Plenty Road, around 60 percent of the Ring Road is now being improved."

The upgrade project for the 16km between the Western Highway and Sunshine Avenue, and from the Calder Freeway to Sydney Road, is already underway.

The project work will include improvements to the 38km corridor and key interchanges, plus an electronic freeway management system. Improvements between Edgars Road and Plenty Road will include three lanes in each direction, with an additional lane in each direction between interchanges to reduce congestion and improve safety.

The project is expected to be complete by the mid-2014.