The Australian and NSW Governments today announced a major step towards relief for motorists using Sydney’s notorious M5 East, with the start of pre-construction work on Stage 2 of WestConnex, and invitations issued for companies to design and construct the new tunnels.
Treasurer Joe Hockey, NSW Premier and Minister for Western Sydney Mike Baird and Roads Minister Duncan Gay today marked the start of geotechnical drilling along the corridor – a significant milestone towards delivering Stage 2 of WestConnex.
The Australian Government’s $2 billion concessional loan has enabled the Australian and NSW Governments to accelerate this stage from the M5 East to St Peters, by 18 months.
WestConnex is a vital infrastructure project that will cut traffic congestion and boost productivity in Australia’s largest city.
The Australian Government is investing a record $50 billion to build world class infrastructure for a stronger and more prosperous Australia.
This investment will support more than $125 billion of major construction activity across the country, ensuring we boost economic growth, create thousands of new jobs and slash travel times in our major cities for a more productive future.
Today’s geotechnical drill was the first of about 100 along the M5 East route as part of pre-construction work for the new tunnels.
Sydney motorists want relief from traffic congestion and the NSW Government is getting on with delivering the major infrastructure projects to make it happen.
We have fast-tracked WestConnex so that both the M4 and M5 sections can be delivered concurrently and open to traffic in 2019.
The commencement of this drilling is great news for the 100,000 motorists who rely on the M5 corridor each day and comes as we near completion of our election promise to widen the M5 West.
Geotechnical drilling will support the design process for WestConnex.
We want worldwide experts to throw their hats into the ring to deliver infrastructure which will help transform the way motorists travel around Sydney and drive the economic growth of this city.
In calling for expressions of interest, we are asking industry to provide us with innovative ideas and designs to deliver the best possible infrastructure for Sydney and the many sectors that rely on the road network, including freight and the service industry.
A preferred design and preferred contractor for the WestConnex M5 tunnel work will be selected mid-2015, ahead of the display of the environmental impact statement.
Next year we expect construction to begin on the King Georges Road Interchange upgrade, which will remove a major bottleneck on the M5 as part of Stage 2 of Westconnex and will be the precursor to work on the M5 East.
At the same time, geotechnical investigations are also being carried out on the M4 East corridor as part of Stage 1, so it will really be a hive of activity along the WestConnex route.
Stage 2 of WestConnex comprises:
· Upgrading the King Georges Road and M5 interchange to reduce congestion and improve travel time reliability.
· Widening to four lanes each way between King Georges Road, Beverly Hills, and the M5 tunnel portals.
· A tunnel from St Peters to join the widened M5 East surface section.
· Connections to St Peters and the airport precinct to cater for forecast job, housing and air travel growth.
WestConnex will connect Sydney’s west and south west with the CBD, airport and port precincts, with the final stage due to be completed by 2023.
The NSW Government is providing $1.8 billion worth of funding and the Australian Government $1.5 billion, in addition to its concessional loan.
WestConnex is expected to generate up to 10,000 jobs during construction, and deliver more than $20 billion in economic benefits to NSW.