State Government business case reveals increased traffic congestion on roads that are already struggling to cope

There are likely to be an extra 20,000 cars on weekdays on the Anzac Bridge when WestConnex is built.

There are likely to be an extra 20,000 cars on weekdays on the Anzac Bridge when WestConnex is built.

Inner West Courier: State Government business case reveals increased traffic congestion on roads that are already struggling to cope. Deborah FitzGerald  November 24, 2015

There are likely to be an extra 20,000 cars on weekdays on the Anzac Bridge when WestConnex is built.

The release of the updated business case for the controversial WestConnex motorway project has revealed more heartache for residents across the inner west.

The report reveals increased congestion on some roads and extensive tunnelling under at least five more suburbs.

And there is a $7 billion blowout since the project’s inception with the cost is now predicted to be $16.8 billion rather than the $10 billion estimated when it was announced in October 2012.

It is unclear how the massive shortfall will be funded as the State and Federal Governments have only committed $4.3 billion in funding so far with taxpayers and motorists likely to pick up the tab.

Roads Minister Duncan Gay said the funding gap would be raised through private sector debt and tolling revenue.

“The updated WestConnex investment does not reflect a cost blowout, rather it reflects a new and improved project with additional extras.”

The motorway is expected to reduce traffic on most of Parramatta Road but is likely to double congestion around Broadway and increase traffic on other corridors such as Concord Road and Victoria Road.

Map of proposed tunnel for stage 3 of WestConnex under suburbs in the inner west.

Cars on the Anzac bridge are expected to increase by 20,000 on weekdays.

Mr Gay said WestConnex would be critical to managing the expected 19 million trips being made on the network by 2031.

“Local inner west roads which stand to benefit include Queens Road and Lyons Road West in the Five Dock area and Marion Street, Haberfield.”

“Some roads however will share the forecast growth in volumes including Concord Road which is likely to experience an increase of around 8,500 vehicles a day due to new access to the M4 East,” Mr Gay said.

The business case indicates that a Western Harbour tunnel linked to the Rozelle portal is to be located under the Balmain-Rozelle peninsula.

Leichhardt mayor Darcy Byrne said the proposed route for Stage 3 would be deeply concerning for residents in Leichhardt, Lilyfield, Rozelle and Annandale.

“They are understandably fearful that they are about to face the same nightmare of property acquisitions and uncertainty that Haberfield and St Peters residents have been subjected to.”

He said Stage 3 would include a tunnel under the suburbs with an interchange at Rozelle.

“Given recent revelations that this monstrously expensive project will actually worsen traffic conditions on key sections of Parramatta Road and local streets, our local residents will not willingly hand over their homes to make way for this motorway,” Cr Byrne said.

Summer Hill MP Jo Haylen and Leichhardt mayor Darcy Byrne at the corner of Parramatta Rd and Norton St, Leichardt. Picture: Craig Wilson

Summer Hill State Labor MP Jo Haylen said the plan revealed previously undisclosed information including extensive tunnelling under the Marrickville LGA.

“The community will be on the hook for this project for years to come — $16.8 billion in taxpayer money and then, every time they use the road.”

Strathfield State Labor MP Jodi McKay said the government had lost control of the major infrastructure project,

“At $14 a pop from Parramatta to the city in tolls, it is a lot of money for people to pay every day and it is going to have a real impact on families.”

“This is above the cost of living and people are going to avoid the roads to avoid the tolls.”

Traffic congestion at Parramatta Rd, Five Dock.

EcoTransit convener Mathew Hounsell said there was still no completed design for the link to Sydney Airport and Port Botany which was the main justification for the project.

“The fallacy of ‘wider economic benefits’ was a key reason for the new Victorian Government’s abandonment of the East-West Tunnel project one year ago.”

“The business case admits to ‘surface road congestion’ at Rozelle, Concord, St Peters and Haberfield.

Mr Hounsell said locals in these areas call this effect “Tollways to Traffic Jams”.

Cr Byrne said there were added concerns about exactly where emissions stacks would be located.

“I call for the Government to make clear any likely locations for stacks and where acquisitions will be required.”

KEY POINTS:

• WestConnex to cost $16.8B and remains mostly unfunded

• Congestion likely to double around Broadway

• More traffic on Victoria and Concord Rd

• Vehicles on the Anzac Bridge to rise by 20,000 on weekdays

• Extensive tunnelling under Marrickville and Balmain- Rozelle

• Home acquisitions likely in Leichhardt, Rozelle, Lilyfield and Annandale

• Plans for an interchange near the intersection of Parramatta Road and Missenden Road near the University of Sydney.