Lifting WestConnex to the next level

Media Release


20 November 2015

Joint release with:

Duncan Gay

NSW Minister for Roads,
Maritime and Freight

The first of 240 concrete girders to be used to widen the M4 motorway have been moulded on site, marking another major milestone in construction of the WestConnex project.

Federal Minister for Major Projects Paul Fletcher and NSW Minister for Roads Duncan Gay were today on the M4 at Auburn to witness a 40-metre, 85-tonne girder being lifted out of its mould by huge gantry cranes.

Mr Fletcher said the M4 Widening is the first step in constructing a new world class motorway network for Australia's biggest city, with WestConnex designed to link the M4 with the M5 to ease Sydney's congestion.

“WestConnex is the largest urban motorway project being built in the southern hemisphere, creating 10,000 jobs—including trade apprenticeships—many based in Western Sydney,” Mr Fletcher said.

The updated business case for WestConnex was also released today, showing a strong economic case for the project, and daily travel time savings for thousands of motorists and road freight operators.

Mr Gay said WestConnex was more than just a motorway; it's a project to revitalise decaying sections of Parramatta Road, remove traffic from residential streets and create opportunities for better public transport.

“The updated business case describes enhancements to the original project design, including aligning WestConnex to a future second road tunnel under Sydney Harbour,” Mr Gay said.

“The proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link would connect Sydney's northern suburbs to an interchange at Rozelle, providing a western bypass of the CBD.

“The updated business case also shows WestConnex will remove 10,000 trucks each day off Parramatta Road east of Concord and 45,000 cars between Concord and Haberfield.”

Mr Fletcher said with an extra million people expected to live in Sydney in the next decade, the city needs a free flowing motorway to better link residents and businesses from Western and South Western Sydney to the CBD and international gateways such as Sydney Airport and Port Botany.

“Another major enhancement of WestConnex is the Sydney Gateway project—an initiative to directly connect the M4 and M5 road corridors to the airport and port precinct,” Mr Fletcher said.

Enhancements to the original WestConnex design have increased the value of the project to $16.8 billion.

WestConnex tolls will be distance-based (motorists only pay for the length of road they use) and capped like the current M7. Motorists will always have a free alternative route.

To view the WestConnex Updated Strategic Business Case visit

M4 Widening—fast facts

  • The M4 is being widened from three to four lanes in each direction between Church Street, Parramatta and Homebush Bay Drive, Homebush (8 kilometres) at a cost of $500 million.
  • The girders will form new viaducts (also called overpasses) to accommodate two extra lanes on the M4, including a new viaduct over Duck River.
  • The M4 Widening will alleviate the bottleneck around the James Ruse Drive interchange, a notorious pinch point where the motorway currently reduces to two lanes in the eastbound direction.
  • The project also includes new direct access from southbound Homebush Bay Drive to the M4 westbound (G-Loop) and a new connection from Hill Road linking the Sydney Olympic Park precinct to the M4 eastbound.
  • The M4 Widening project will support an estimated 2,000 construction jobs (direct full time jobs as well as indirect jobs in associated industries). It is due for completion in early 2017.
  • Two girder moulds have been installed, each around the length of an Olympic-sized swimming pool, as well as a complex overhead gantry crane system on rails.
  • Each girder will take two to three days to produce on site. It is estimated in the next 12 months, the pre-cast yard will:
  • produce 233 girders at 40 metres, 85 tonnes and 7 girders at 50 metres, 105 tonnes
  • use 20,000 tonnes of concrete and 1,800 tonnes of steel

Key findings & enhancements detailed in the WestConnex Updated Strategic Business Case

    • A Benefit Cost Ratio of 1.88 to 1 (for every dollar spent on WestConnex, the project generates $1.88 in wider economic benefits, including productivity gains for commuters and freight operators), with further benefits to be realised when the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link is constructed.
    • Significant travel time savings by 2031, including a 40 minute reduction from an average peak journey between Parramatta and Sydney Airport and a 20 minute reduction between James Ruse Drive and Camperdown on Parramatta Road avoiding 25 sets of traffic lights.
    • Significant enhancements, including alignment to a future Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link and a connection from the New M5 (at St Peters interchange) to Sydney Airport and Port Botany. Furthermore, the New M5 will include a road stub to enable a link to the future Southern Connector (which is the first stage of a motorway standard link to the Sutherland Shire and Illawarra).
    • The ability to raise private sector finance without a guarantee by the State—reducing risk to taxpayers and ensuring best value for money is obtained.
    • Government funding for WestConnex includes $1.8 billion from Restart NSW, a $1.5 billion grant from the Australian Government and a $2 billion Commonwealth concessional loan to accelerate construction of the New M5 (Stage Two of WestConnex).

WestConnex construction stages

Stage 1: Widening the M4 from Parramatta to Homebush and then extending the M4 via a tunnel to City West Link and Parramatta Road, Haberfield.

Stage 2: Upgrading the M5-King Georges Road interchange and more than doubling capacity of the M5 East corridor with the New M5 tunnel running from the existing M5 East corridor to a new interchange at St Peters.

Stage 3: Joining the M4 and M5 corridors together—via a tunnel with three lanes in each direction, and connections to the future Western Harbour Tunnel & Beaches Link, providing a western bypass of the CBD.