Newly released designs for the next stage of the Sydney WestConnex project indicate the M4-M5 Link twin tunnels may be completed early, with lanes on both sides increased from three to four, and the exit and entry ramps at Camperdown removed.

New South Wales Minister for Roads, Duncan Gay, said the engineering improvements meant the twin tunnels from Haberfield to St Peters could be built as a stand-alone project, and initially operate independently from the Rozelle Interchange and Iron Cove Link.

Mr Gay said this would allow the tunnels to potentially open to motorists in 2022.

“This stage of WestConnex is the most important because it’s the missing link which finally joins the M4 and M5 motorways together,” Mr Gay said.

“This government is building infrastructure Sydney desperately needs and we’re working with the community to make improvements to achieve the best outcomes.”

Increasing the number of lanes in the M4-M5 Link tunnels aims to help future-proof Sydney’s road network, as it links to other major road projects.

The $7 billion M4-M5 Link will be the central spine of Sydney’s future motorway network by providing connections to the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and F6.

The new design helps significantly reduce traffic on Parramatta Road between Haberfield and the CBD.

The tunnel alignment will move west to a more direct route between Rozelle and St Peters interchanges, and will not impact Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and its Cyclotron medical research facility, or the University of Sydney.

No further residential properties are required for the M4-M5 Link, however a small number of commercial properties will need to be acquired for a tunnelling site on Parramatta Road at Camperdown.

Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher, said the Turnbull Government was backing major infrastructure across Sydney with $1.5 billion in grant funding and a $2 billion concessional loan towards WestConnex.

“There is no project more important for the millions of people in western and south western Sydney than WestConnex, which is why we’re getting on with building it,” Mr Fletcher said.

The community will have further opportunity to have their say when the M4-M5 Link Environmental Impact Statement is released in 2017.

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