THE Australian Government last week provided the environmental approval for Stage 2 of the WestConnex motorway, which paves the way for construction to start on a key component of the overall $16.8 billion road project.
WestConnex Stage 2 will link to the upgraded King Georges Road Interchange on the existing M5 East Motorway at Beverly Hills and run via twin tunnels to St Peters, which is expected to more than double the capacity of the M5 East corridor.
Key features of the project include:
- Approximately nine kilometres of new motorway tunnels, line-marked for two traffic lanes in each direction, and capable of accommodating up to three lanes in the future, if required;
- Widening and realigning the existing M5 East Motorway just east of King Georges Road;
- A new interchange at St Peters;
- Two new road bridges across Alexandra Canal;
- Enhanced and upgraded local streets near St Peters Interchange;
- Around 14 kilometres of new and upgraded shared, pedestrian and cycle paths, including new bridges across Alexandra Canal and Campbell Road, St Peters; and
- Tunnels that will be taller, wider and less steep than the existing M5 East resulting in a smoother ride for motorists, reducing emissions and improving air quality outcomes.
The Australian Government's decision follows a thorough assessment process and a significant period of public consultation.
Conditions on the approval under national environmental law endorse those imposed as part of approval under the New South Wales development consent, including comprehensive conditions to secure offsets for the critically endangered Cooks River / Castlereagh Ironbark Forest ecological community and Green and Golden Bell Frog.
Only Stage 2 of WestConnex was referred for Commonwealth environmental approval. Stage 1 is already under construction and Stage 3 is yet to commence.
In September 2015, the CPB Contractors Dragados Samsung Joint Venture was selected as the preferred tenderer for Stage 2.
The $16.8 billion, 33-kilometre WestConnex tollway is being delivered in three stages, with the final stage due to open to traffic in 2023. The project will extend from Parramatta to Sydney's CBD, Sydney Airport and the Port Botany precinct and the M5 in south-west Sydney and carry an estimated 400,000 vehicles per day.