The NSW Government has approved the next stage of the WestConnex project, which will double capacity of the existing M5 East corridor in New South Wales.
Stage two involves new M5 twin tunnels which will run underground from Kingsgrove to St Peters.
Minister for Roads Duncan Gay said the New M5 was crucial in reducing congestion, cutting travel times and taking traffic off local roads.
“The New M5 is the second major tunnel section of WestConnex and will run between the existing M5 East at Kingsgrove and a new interchange at St Peters,” Mr Gay said.
“100,000 motorists use the current M5 East every day and face a constant battle to get through what has become a frustrating car park. By doubling its capacity with new 9km twin tunnels, they’ll have a much faster and less stressful journey.
“For example, in 2021 travel times will be cut by up to 45 per cent for motorists travelling eastbound during the morning peak from Beverly Hills to Botany.”
Mr Gay said, pending Federal Government approval, initial work on the New M5 could begin shortly and major construction in coming months. It is scheduled to open in 2019.
“Sydney motorists have been crying out for this project ever since the opening of the original M5 East – we are cracking on with delivering it,” Mr Gay said.
“WestConnex will slash travel times and improve people’s lives, including those small business operators needing to get from A to B as efficiently as possible.”
Local roads will be upgraded and new green space will be created south of Sydney Park and linked by a new land bridge.
An extensive EIS assessment process was carried out to consider submissions from the community and business prior to planning approval being granted.
Construction is already underway on other parts of WestConnex, with work well underway on the M4 Widening section between Parramatta and Homebush.
Early work is also underway on the new M4 East twin tunnels between Homebush and Haberfield.
The planning application has been lodged for the final stage of the project – the tunnel joining the M4 and M5 to create a free-flowing motorway – allowing extensive community consultation to begin.