Tunnelling has begun for the nine kilometre twin tunnels in WestConnex’s new M5 project in Sydney.

The tunnels will run parallel to the existing M5 East, and will more than double capacity along the busy corridor.

New South Wales Premier, Mike Baird, said, “Anyone who’s used the M5 East knows how critical this link is to fixing traffic congestion in Sydney.

“We now have tunnelling underway on three major motorway links in Sydney with the New M5, M4 East and NorthConnex. Along with our record investments in Sydney Metro rail and light rail, we’re picking up the pace as we rebuild NSW.”

New South Wales Minister for Roads, Duncan Gay said the new M5 will halve the time it takes for motorists to get from Beverly Hills to St Peters to just ten minutes.

“The M5 is currently congested for 13 hours a day – this new motorway, opening in 2020, will get drivers moving again,” Mr Gay said.

“By moving vehicles underground, we’re able to create more than 18 hectares of new recreational green space, including six hectares at a new Interchange at St Peters.”   

Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher, said, “The Turnbull Government’s $2 billion concessional loan has enabled construction of the new M5 to be fast-tracked.  

“This is a significant day for WestConnex, which will deliver more than $20 billion in benefits to the state and create 10,000 jobs during construction.”

Construction of the new M5 alone will generate more than 4,400 full time jobs, including 155 apprentices and trainees.

Tunnelling on the M4 East is also progressing well and a new widened section of the M4 will open to traffic in 2017.

In addition to new green space, the community will also benefit from the construction of 14km of new and upgraded shared pedestrian and cycle paths as part of the New M5.

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