The NSW government has released the latest plans for connecting the M4 and M5 tollways in Sydney’s inner west as part of the controversial $17 billion WestConnex project.
The 9-kilometre M4-M5 Link tunnel between Haberfield and St Peters will also surface at Rozelle, in an already heavily congested area near the disused White Bay power station, feeding into the Anzac Bridge and City Westlink. The area is part of the massive Bays Precinct redevelopment, currently being planned by the government.
Here is WestConnex’s video of the Rozelle interchange.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the link was “vital connection” between two of Sydney’s busiest motorways.
“Like the 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 with links to the port and airport precincts,” she said.
The premier also revealed that the M4’s distance-based toll on the new section between Parramatta and Homebush will be priced between $1.77 and $4.56 – although those are 2017 prices that will be indexed with CPI. The road is due to open in 2019.
The government claims the link will save 40 minutes on a peak hour journey between Parramatta and Sydney Airport, and take 10,000 trucks off Parramatta road east of Concord.
Wesconnex minister Stuart Ayres said the government plans to sell 51% of the Sydney Motorway Corporation, which is building WestConnex, to raise funding for stage three.
“The Government will call for expressions of interest for the WestConnex sale later this year, and is targeting a transaction closing date of mid-2018,” he said.
The minister said the government was now seeking further feedback and ideas to “refine” the design before the Environmental Impact Statement is released mid-year.
Here’s how WestConnex envisages the project:
The previous EIS for the earlier stages of WestConnex attracted nearly 13,000 submissions, many of them critical of the project.
A growing backlash over the way 180 homeowners were compensated after losing their home to compulsory acquisition saw former premier Mike Baird announce changes to the law last year, alongside an additional an extra $47,765 in compensation to people who’ve had their homes taken from them by the government over the last three years
Building work for stage 3 of WestConnex is expected to start in 2018 and take five years.
The release of the plan coincides with a submission from the City of Sydney to abandon the tunnel and save $7 billion, with the council arguing that the actual cost of WestConnex is closer to $45 billion when other infrastructure upgrades were taken into account. Lord mayor Clover Moore presented the council’s idea to the premier a forynight ago, according to the ABC.
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