Australia’s Victoria Government has announced that geotechnical drilling works on the western section of the East West Link have started in Melbourne.

The works are the first stage of the East West Link project and includes connecting CityLink to the Western Ring Road, which is estimated cost about $8bn to $10bn.

However, the entire East West Link project will be an 18km toll motorway that will link the Eastern Freeway to the Western Ring Road at an estimated price tag of $18bn.

Australia infrastructure and regional development Assistant Minister Jamie Briggs said: "Today is an important milestone for the delivery of East West Link, which will create thousands of new jobs during construction, slash travel times for motorists and bust congestion which is costing the economy billions.

"Today is an important milestone for the delivery of East West Link."

"With 200,000 vehicles using the West Gate Bridge every day, it is vital we get on with building a second river crossing so commuters spend less time stuck in traffic and more time being productive at work and at home with their families."

Victoria premier Dr Denis Napthine said: "The start of geotechnical drilling on the western section is an important step towards building the full 18km East West Link.

"The Western Ring Road is one of Melbourne’s busiest freeways and it is important the design allows for safe and efficient merging and exiting traffic movements.

"As the western section moves into the detailed development and planning phase, the community will see further geotechnical investigations occurring along the broad corridor. The exact locations will be identified by the technical advisory team when they come on board in the coming months."

The latest announcements come a day after the Australian and Victoria Governments selected the East West Connect consortium for developing the first stage of the East West Link toll road.

Image: The Eastern Freeway in Melbourne where the East West Link will begin. Photo: courtesy of BlackCab.