The city of Sydney, while having so much to offer its 4 million plus residents, also hosts some of the country's most congested roads. According to TomTom's latest Traffic Index report, Sydney commuters can expect to spend just under four days a year sitting in traffic, a statistic which has earned the city its rank as one of the top 25 most congested cities in the world.
While a good percentage of Sydney residents rely on public transport for their daily commute, just over half of the population (53 per cent) travel to work by personal vehicle as reported by research firm, McCrindle.
It's fair to say that many will be glad to hear that work has now begun on a major road upgrade in the central business district. The Capacity Improvement Programme involves changes designed to help keep traffic moving.
Changing the state of Sydney's congestion
The Sydney City Centre Capacity Improvement Plan covers an area from Broadway to Circular Quay, and is comprised of a total of 17 different infrastructure projects that will prioritise vehicle movements at key intersections and thoroughfares, according to Roads and Maritime Services.
With the completion of early works on York Street ahead of schedule, Transport for New South Wales has announced that major work is set to commence ahead of the original July 19 start date.
CBD Transport Coordinator General Marg Prendergast is positive about the timeline for the CBD upgrade.
"We are determined that throughout the years of construction that lie ahead we will get in, get the job done and then get out, so it's heartening that this major project is progressing quickly and efficiently for the residents, businesses, workers and visitors impacted by it," Ms Prendergast said in a July 14 media statement.
"At some locations this work is about creating more road space, elsewhere it's creating extra loading zones, making intersections easier to navigate, improving flow for buses or enhancing pedestrian safety."
Planning for disruption
In order to keep disruption in the CBD to a minimum, the projects will be staggered throughout the coming months, meaning that development will not be carried out constantly. It is estimated that each project will take on average five months to complete.
With so many drivers relying on the CBD's roads, Transport for NSW revealed some of its strategies for ensuring the project's success whilst being aware of road users for the duration of the work.
"We know this work will be inconvenient at times and there will be significant disruption for everyone who comes into the CBD, but it is an essential part of preparing the city for the exciting future that awaits it," Ms Prendergast acknowledged.
"These 17 projects are a big part of keeping Sydney moving without George Street performing its traditional role as a key north-south vehicle route."
Capacity will be added to support ease of movement for all road users from commuters to public transport and taxis in areas such as King, Market, Sussex and College streets, in addition to maintaining 24-hour access to building entrances, driveways and footpaths.
"We are pulling all the levers at our disposal to ensure the city continues to operate and remains a great place to live, do business, work and visit," stated Ms Prendergast.
Making Sydney more accessible
Transport for NSW assures Sydney's road users that it has taken a close look at the CBD area in order to establish where modifications would make the biggest difference to the road network.
"In some places, the changes may not be obvious," Ms Prendergast said, "but even a small change to a footpath or intersection kerb can make a big difference to how the network operates."