Ground Broken For WestConnex Tunnels
04 March 2016
Joint release with:
NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight
Federal Member for Reid
NSW Minister for Drummoyne
Ground was broken today in preparation for the first WestConnex twin tunnels linking Homebush and Haberfield, as part of the city-changing motorway.
Federal Minister for Major Projects Paul Fletcher and NSW Minister for Roads Duncan Gay watched as a rig began foundation work at Cintra Park in Concord, the first of four tunnelling sites for the project.
Mr Fletcher said the twin M4 East tunnels—each 5.5kms in length—will be among the widest constructed in the southern hemisphere, measuring up to 30 metres wide, allowing for three lanes of traffic in each direction plus shoulders and breakdown bays.
“WestConnex will deliver more than $20 billion in benefits to NSW and create 10,000 jobs during construction,” Mr Fletcher said.
“The M4 East will generate more than 2,500 direct jobs alone, and support a further 1,500 indirect jobs. The M4 East will also employ more than 100 apprentices or trainees.”
Mr Gay said construction of the M4 East tunnels followed work already well underway on widening the M4 from Parramatta to Homebush.
“It's a really exciting moment to go from the planning stage to actual construction and I know the thousands of motorists, particularly those in Western Sydney, who are stuck every day in traffic can't wait for the day WestConnex is finished,” Mr Gay said.
Federal Member for Reid Craig Laundy said Cintra Park marks the midway tunnelling point for the M4 East, from which four road headers will tunnel up to 50 metres below the surface, starting by mid-year.
“With traffic including up to 10,000 trucks a day expected to use the tunnel, we'll reduce congestion for local communities and support public transport options along the Parramatta Road corridor,” Mr Laundy said.
State Member for Drummoyne John Sidoti said local roads will benefit with traffic reductions forecast for Queens Road and Lyons Road West, Five Dock and City West Link and Marion Street, Leichhardt.
“Briars Hockey Club, previously located at Cintra Park, last month was successfully relocated to nearby St Lukes Park, and is benefiting from world-class facilities,” Mr Sidoti said.
When complete, WestConnex will link the M4 and M5 through a free-flowing motorway allowing motorists to avoid up to 52 sets of traffic lights. The M4 East tunnels are scheduled to open in 2019, with the entire WestConnex motorway finished in 2023.