This Week in Transport September 8

This Week


08 September 2017

This week I released market research [PDF: 1.1 MB] showing 67 per cent of Western Sydney residents are favourable towards Western Sydney Airport. This follows several announcements in the past six months: that a government owned company will build and own the airport; the government committing to inject up to $5.3 billion in equity to that company; appointing the first four directors of the company; and that the company's headquarters will be in Liverpool.

On the M80 Ring Road in Melbourne, the EJ Whitten Bridge is being widened to five lanes in each direction. The time-lapse video below shows an 85 tonne beam being dropped into place. The M80 Ring Road upgrade project will drastically slash travel times for long suffering motorists and is a key element of our $1.5 billion infrastructure package to get Victoria moving.

This week I called for tenders to deliver the $14 million Lobethal Freight Access Upgrade in South Australia. The upgrade will allow B-Double trucks to travel between Palmer and Lobethal. This is one example of how the Australian Government is investing to improve supply chains and export competitiveness across the nation. Information on the tender is available at

On the NorthConnex project in Sydney, a new tunnelling machine or ‘roadheader' joined the team—one of 20 now working on the project. Traditionally each roadheader is given a name—this one is ‘Claire’. All of the roadheaders are working hard to build what will be a free-flowing freeway link between the M1 Pacific Motorway at Wahroonga, and the Hills M2 Motorway at West Pennant Hills. NorthConnex will take up to 5,000 heavy vehicles a day off Pennant Hills Road and enable motorists to bypass 21 sets of traffic lights. Once complete in 2019, the $3 billion project will allow a direct passage between Newcastle to Canberra without encountering a single set of traffic lights.

Photograph of tunneligng equiptment on the NorthConnex project in Sydney.

Lastly, the Commonwealth Infrastructure Department has had a change at the top. I thank outgoing Secretary Mike Mrdak for all his efforts and achievements in delivering infrastructure projects for Australia—and welcome incoming Secretary Steven Kennedy to the role.