A 1950s solution to a 21st century problem
Major cities across the world are making public transport their priority, not toll roads. Sydney needs to do the same.
Decades after city communities fought against inner city expressways, the threat is back. WestConnex will widen and extend existing motorways into our city.
It is a 1950s solution to our 21st century transport needs. At a cost of $11.5 billion, it will divert money from essential investments in public transport that Sydney – east and west – needs.
The City asked SGS Economics & Planning to review the project because the State Government has not provided details on traffic modelling and is shockingly negotiating contracts before finishing environmental assessment.
The SGS report shows WestConnex will not only have serious impacts on the inner city, it will not meet Western Sydney’s needs.
The NSW Auditor-General criticised Westconnex for conflicts of interest, a poor business case and lack of information to assess if the project is economically viable.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore
WestConnex public meeting – 16 March 2015
WestConnex not the solution
WestConnex is a tunnel to a traffic jam. An $11.5 billion network of toll roads that will bring thousands more cars into Sydney’s already congested centre. It is the largest road project in Australia’s history.
It’s planned in 3 parts:
- M4 widening and extension
- M5 extension
- M4-M5 link.
WestConnex is funded by the state and federal governments, and by tolls on motorists. Commuters will pay more, including tolls on previously toll-free roads.
The third stage and a planned connection to Sydney Airport and Port Botany are not currently funded despite their critical role in delivering the project’s stated objectives.
WestConnex claims to link people with jobs, improve freight transport and allow urban renewal. But here are the facts:
- It won’t improve access to city centre jobs as 90% of western Sydney workers commute to the city on overcrowded public transport.
- It doesn’t align with the State Metropolitan Strategy to create job opportunities in Western Sydney and transport links to them.
- It won’t help transfer freight from Port Botany and Sydney Airport to Western Sydney.
- Critical linking roads are unfunded.
- It doesn’t take into account Badgerys Creek Airport.
- It won’t help the renewal of Parramatta Road.
- It will funnel thousands more cars into Newtown, St Peters, Erskineville, Alexandria, Waterloo, Redfern and Green Square.
- It will isolate Sydney Park with fast moving traffic. Tunnel portals, ramps and ventilation stacks will blight the park’s surroundings.
Motorway falls short under independent study
The first expert independent assessment of the planned WestConnex Motorway warns the project won’t benefit residents of western Sydney, won’t be financially viable and won’t deliver promised travel time savings for years.
The review by leading experts, SGS Economics & Planning, says the project is planned as the largest continuous motorway in Australia yet its purpose and the challenges it is supposed to address are not clear. It warns the key justifications for WestConnex are already redundant.
According to the strategic review, WestConnex will not meet its overarching objectives of serving population and employment growth along the M4 and M5 corridors and moving freight from Port Botany and Kingsford Smith Airport to western Sydney.
SGS found current employment, freight and key demographic trends “do not support the construction of WestConnex”.
The motorway will deliver substantial additional traffic to neighbourhoods around the planned St Peters interchange and seriously impact on King Street.
In response to the report, Councillors expressed concern about the project at their February meeting.
Councillors supported a resolution for the Lord Mayor to write to NSW Premier Mike Baird, Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay, to request they reconsider the project.
Last updated: Thursday, 5 November 2015