The WestConnex New M5 project in New South Wales will soon begin construction after it received Commonwealth approval.

The project received Commonwealth approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act following state planning approval in April 2016.

The New M5 will link the upgraded King Georges Road Interchange on the existing M5 East Motorway at Beverly Hills and run via twin tunnels between Kingsgrove and St Peters.

WestConnex Project Director Ken Reynolds said the New M5 will cut travel times for thousands of motorists every day and create about 4,400 jobs during construction.

“Without the New M5, travel times on the M5 East Motorway between King Georges Road Interchange and Foreshore Road would more than double by 2031,” Mr Reynolds said.

“The nine kilometre twin tunnels will more than double capacity of the M5 corridor and they will be wider and taller than today’s underground tunnels.

“WestConnex will take more than 60,000 vehicles off the existing M5 East tunnel on an average weekday and help deliver more than $20 billion in economic benefits to NSW.”

By 2021, WestConnex is expected to cut travel times by up to 45 per cent for motorists travelling eastbound during the morning peak from Beverly Hills to Botany.

A Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) will now be developed to comply with the conditions of approval. It will detail specific mitigation measures and controls to minimise environmental impacts during construction.

Site establishment work will commence in July 2016, with major construction expected to start in the months following.

Construction on the King Georges Road Interchange Upgrade, which will address one of Sydney’s worst pinch points, has passed the halfway point and is on track for completion by February 2017.

Construction is already underway on other parts of WestConnex, with work well underway on the M4 Widening section between Parramatta and Homebush and also underway on the M4 East twin tunnels between Homebush and Haberfield.

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