Construction has started on the first stage of WestConnex, Australia's most elaborate urban road project.
The 33 km motorway, combined with a number of other road improvement initiatives, is aimed at the overall upgrade of Sydney's Orbital Network.
Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs says the scope of WestConnex is significant.
"The Australian government is partnering with the NSW government to build WestConnex, the largest single transport infrastructure program in the nation's history," he said.
The purpose of WestConnex
According to the NSW government, the initiative is aimed at boosting Sydney's economic capacity and advancing the city's growth.
WestConnex has four major objectives, as follows:
- Support freight transport by ensuring quicker trips between Western Sydney and the Port Botany/Sydney Airport precinct
- Alleviating traffic jams and congestion on local trips by divvying up motorists across the wider road network
- Providing a stable infrastructure for the projected growth in employment and population through better connections along the M4 and M5 corridors
- Improvements across Parramatta Road by increasing opportunities for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists
The project is going to be be delivered in three stages over a period of ten years. The motorway will be progressively opened as each stage is completed. The expected completion date is 2023. The total cost of the project is going to be $14.5 billion
The first stage, already underway, involves widening the M4. This stage is going to cost $500 million and should be ready for motorists by 2017.
How will WestConnex improve Sydney's future
In a recent statement released by the Prime Minister's office, Sydney's population is expected to increase by 1.6 million within the next 20 years. Without proper infrastructure, the city's economy and transport structure are going to struggle under the added pressure.
The statement also provides a detailed breakdown of the time that will be saved when the project is complete.
The projected breakdown for the time saved on five key routes is as follows:
- An average peak journey between Parramatta and Sydney airport will take 40 minutes less
- Travel time between Burwood and Sydney airport will reduce by 23 minutes
- A journey between Liverpool and South Sydney will take 29 minutes less
- A saving of 40 minutes on a trip between Port Botany and Silverwater
- 23 minutes less on a trip between Kogarah and the CBD
The economic benefits of WestConnex
According to the NSW government, the initiative is going create 10,000 new jobs during the construction phase. This also includes hundreds of apprenticeships. NSW can also expect to derive more than $20 billion in economic benefits as a result of WestConnex.
Freight distribution is going to become smoother because of the opportunity to avoid the local road network.
Parramatta Road will be less congested and can be reinvigorated as a precinct.
WestConnex is expected to create an environment conducive to the creation of at least 25,000 new jobs in the next 20 years. The government also estimates 25,000 new residences will be built along the road.
To make sure you are in a position to take advantage of new and improved road infrastructure, make sure your comprehensive insurance, green slip and registration are all up to date.