The third and final stage of WestConnex, linking the M4 and M5 motorways, has been approved by the NSW Government, and will complete Australia’s largest road project.
Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, said the most critical section of WestConnex joins the M4 tunnel at Haberfield with the M5 at St Peters, as well as the Iron Cove Bridge and Rozelle Interchange.
“This project will join the two motorways, taking thousands of trucks off Parramatta Road, providing connections from the west and south-west, and saving commuters and tradies hours of travel time each week,” Mr Roberts said.
“Traffic congestion currently costs the NSW economy $5.1 billion a year and this is expected to increase to $8.8 billion by 2020 if improvements are not made.
“The M4-M5 link is part of a comprehensive range of road and public transport projects that are all connected and will make Sydney a much better place to live.”
Mr Roberts said the project included the transformation of the disused Rozelle Rail Yards into a 10-hectare park with green space, footpaths and cycleways.
“This new park will include pedestrian and cyclist connections between communities, including a bridge linking the open space at Rozelle to the foreshore parks adjacent to Rozelle Bay at Annandale,” he said.
Mr Roberts said the ventilation outlets at Rozelle and Iron Cove would also incorporate a living, vertical garden over their total areas.
Minister for WestConnex, Stuart Ayres, said the delivery of the M4–M5 tunnel link is central to the success of Sydney’s future transport network.
“Like the Sydney Harbour Bridge did for the North Shore, the M4–M5 Link will bridge a major gap in the road network, creating a non-stop underground western bypass of Sydney’s CBD, slashing travel times and delivering over 18 hectares of open space for local communities.”
Strict conditions have been set to reduce impact on locals during construction and operation include:
- Tough requirements to reduce noise during construction
- Requirements to provide noise mitigation measures early in the schedule to reduce the noise impacts to affected communities
- Coordination of utility works to ensure adequate respite is provided to local communities
- Local traffic management measures to be considered before the project opens
- Enhanced urban design and landscaping provisions
- Strict and transparent air quality provisions following guidelines set by the Advisory Committee for Tunnel Air Quality, NSW Health and the EPA
To address traffic impact during construction, it will be mandatory for spoil haulage trucks to be fitted with GPS devices to allow for accurate monitoring with restrictions on local roads.
The GPS tracking will assist the department in its regulatory role, by providing evidence of truck movements. There will also be a truck marshalling yard to further reduce disruptions.
There will be opportunities for ongoing community involvement in the design of the project such as community input into the Urban Design and Landscape Plan and involvement on the Air Quality Community Consultative Committee.
The conditions of approval also require compulsory, ongoing reporting and review of strict compliance standards. Quarterly compliance reports will be made available to the community on the projects website.