By NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell
We’re getting on with the job of delivering the transport infrastructure this city desperately needs and have announced we will build the missing link between the M1 and M2 to help ease traffic congestion in Sydney.
An agreement has been negotiated between the NSW and Australian Governments and Transurban and Westlink M7 shareholders to kick start the project, which has been debated for years but has taken until now – under the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government – to get off the ground.
I was joined at the announcement of this major project by NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay Prime Minister Tony Abbott and federal Assistant Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs.
The $3 billion link will see two tunnels dug out under the busy Pennant Hills Road. The preferred design would see twin nine kilometre tunnels link the southern end of the M1 at Wahroonga with the Hills M2 at the Pennant Hills Road interchange. Importantly, the NorthConnex motorway will help ease congestion, taking up to 5,000 heavy vehicles off Pennant Hills Road on any given day and allowing vehicles to bypass 21 sets of traffic lights in the process.
The link will provide a continuous stretch of motorway between the Hunter and Central Coast and Western and South Western Sydney, offering faster journeys between these areas. It will also lead to more efficient movement of freight on the east coast of Australia with motorists able to travel from Newcastle to Canberra or Melbourne without stopping at a single traffic light. We’re keen to see this project started so subject to environmental approvals and community consultation, construction could commence within the next 12 months, which would allow the vehicles to start using the motorway in 2019. In even more good news, the construction phase will lead to around 2,000 jobs.
The construction budget for the project is $2.65 billion plus land and project delivery costs. The NSW Government and the Federal Government will each contribute up to $405 million. Once built, NorthConnex will be initially line-marked for two lanes in each direction however, we are building for the future by constructing each tunnel to have a capacity of three lanes.
My Government is getting on with the job of building the infrastructure this city needs like the North West and South West Rail Links, the M5 West widening, the CBD and South East Light Rail project, WestConnex and now the NorthConnex motorways.