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Transportation Planning Casebook/Westconnex

SummaryEdit

Over the last three decades Sydney has seen a rapid population growth with the price of housing skyrocketing. To give young Australians the opportunity to buy their first home, new suburbs have been developed to the west of Sydney. As the population to the west of Sydney grows, the demand for motorways increases as people want a direct route into the Central Business District (CBD) and inner suburbs. The WestConnex project aims to alleviate this issue and update major motorways across Sydney. The WestConnex project comprises of several individual projects, including:

Stage 1Edit

  • M4 Widening: widening the existing M4 Motorway between Parramatta and Homebush
  • M4 East: extending the M4 Motorway in twin underground tunnels between Homebush and Haberfield

Stage 2Edit

  • King Georges Road Interchange Upgrade: extending the on and off-ramps at the King Georges Road M5 interchange
  • New M5: building new M5 tunnels to double capacity between St Peters and Kingsgrove

Stage 3Edit

  • M4-M5 Link: joining the M4 and M5, providing connections to the future Western Harbour Tunnel, Beaches Link and F6 extension

Due to the enormity of the project a number of contractors have been used to undertake different parts of the project. The Sydney Motorway Corporation is in charge of financing and delivering the project. The current estimated cost of WestConnex is almost $20 billion but is likely to increase as projects especially the M4-M5 Link begin construction. In order to finance this large price tag, tolls will be introduced along the new M4 and M5 sections as well as the link itself. Whilst the tolls will be relatively expensive (over to $6 in some sections), the benefits of the project are designed to out weigh the cost. There will be reduced traffic along many major roads, such as Parramatta Road, as traffic is directed onto the largely underground WestConnex network. Travel times will also be significantly reduced as WestConnex will skip up to 52 traffic lights in some sections. Between Burwood and the CBD travel time will be reduced by up to 44%, and along the new M5, route travel times will be reduced by up to 49%[1]. However, these benefits to Sydney’s road network do not come without a cost to local communities as in some communities houses are being demolished to make way for construction, and traffic along smaller local roads is set to increase.

List of ActorsEdit

Government OrganisationsEdit

Departments in both the state and federal government are responsible for the planning, delivery, and future operation of the WestConnex. The state government created the WestConnex Delivery Authority (WDA) as a primary agency to be responsible for the management of the economic, environmental, and social impacts of the project. The government and its associated bodies would support the project they proposed, as they expect major benefits in traffic efficiency and job creation. However, they would be aware of the possible negative social and environmental externalities caused by the deployment of the project, and aim to minimise these effects. This would be managed through thorough planning to conserve existing ecology and to conduct community information sessions.

Like all major political actions, not all political parties support the project. The key opponents object to the cost of the project and counter-propose that the budget should be spent to further develop the public transport systems. Furthermore, local communities in the path of the expanded motorways will be negatively affected and their local representatives will reflect the emotion of their constituents.

CommutersEdit

All forms of vehicles eligible to use the motorways affected by the WestConnex project are subject to benefit from improved travel times and reduced congestion. Expansion of the existing network will create a more efficient system for all motorists.

Conversely, alternative transport modes such as trains and bikes would be at a relative disadvantage. There are no direct effects that the WestConnex has on these systems; neither positive nor negative. However, the opportunity cost of not investing in public transport infrastructure could be considered a negative externality.

Local CommunitiesEdit

The communities that exist towards the outer limits of the WestConnex project (see Figure 2 in Maps and Timeline of Events) are the primary beneficiaries. The project will connect these communities to the urban sprawl of Sydney and allow shorter commute times and ease of travel to other areas of the city.

Though the government controls this project, its reception by local communities significantly affect its progression. This is because the negative externalities of construction (i.e noise pollution, changes to the surrounding environment, etc.) directly affect this group and cause annoyance to the local population. In addition, the major motorways are receiving expansions but the subsidiary roads in local communities will experience an increase of traffic which will further be a change from previous conditions. Therefore, the government makes plans to reduce these drawbacks and partner with communities to control these negative outcomes.

Maps and Timeline of EventsEdit

Conception of The WestConnexEdit

County of Cumberland Planning SchemeEdit

The conception of an expanded motorway system was first explored as a small part of the County of Cumberland planning scheme in 1948. Developed by the Cumberland City Council, a tier of government legislated to oversee the implementation of Sydney’s first suburban plan[2]. Inspired by the London Plans of Patrick Abercrombie, the scheme featured:

  • Land use zoning
  • Suburban employment zones
  • Open space acquisitions
  • A green belt encircling Greater Sydney

There were also plans for expressways along the main corridors [3]. These corridors were:

  • A north eastern road, along the alignment of Warringah Freeway and following the Wakehurst Parkway and Pittwater Road to Palm Beach
  • A northern road, along Victoria Road, M2 Motorway and Pacific Motorway
  • A western road along the alignment of the current M4 Motorway
  • A southern road along the F6 corridor
  • A south western road roughly along the M5 Motorway
  • A ring road between the A3 road towards Macquarie Park to the south of Miranda

The scheme focuses on the development of urban sprawl within the confines of the green belt. This green belt was to run from Pennant Hills curving through Western Sydney, encircling Parramatta, Blacktown and Liverpool and ending at the Georges River in East Hills. However, this was a contentious issue as the green belt limited sprawl. The Department of Housing and property owners lodged for injurious affectation, where surrounding land around homes were taken, thereby reducing the values of the properties as well. This and underfunding led to its abolishment in 1963, though future proposed corridors for expansion were still in place.

Premier Wran 1976Edit

Premier Wran’s focus was on the focus of environmental protection and pollution control. His policies sought to regenerate the urban landscape, looking for alternatives to freeway systems such as co ordinated traffic systems, clearways and priority roads[4]. In this time, decentralisation of the urban sprawl occurred, with a shift in balance from the CBD to the surrounding suburbs. Long distance passengers drifted towards Kingsford Smith International Airport away from the port in Circular Quay and Central Railway Station. Furthermore, Botany Bay supplanted Sydney Harbour’s shipping operations and a focus on townships built along railway lines lead to retailers moving away from the CBD. Most notably however was the selling of the land purposed for the M4 East, due to financial constraints and public pressure and the downsizing of the Eastern Suburbs Railway.

Roads 2000Edit

In the Commonwealth Bureau of Roads report 1975, a massive investment in arterial roads was recommended. As of 1975, urban roads could not support the growing trends, with dire consequences predicted by 1987. As such, expressways were revived as a solution to the problem[5]. From here a shift of focus from a radial central system to motorways and cross suburban journeys was seen. This resulted in an orbital road system around metropolitan Sydney.

This resulted in the completion of the Western Motorway (M4) from Lapstone to Concord in 1992 and the South Western Motorway (M5) from Prestons to Beverley Hills in 1995. The M5 East (2001) came into contention due to its many revisions to minimise surface impact. The resulting tunnel currently has issues in ventilation and is physically unfeasible for heavy freight vehicles due to height limitations. This posed problems since its construction was primarily revolved around easier modes of access to the International Gateway in Botany Bay.

Integrated Transport Strategy 2011Edit

In 2011 newly elected Barry O’Farrell established an independent advisory body, dubbed infrastructure NSW (iNSW), to assess long standing proposals and projects. These included the M4 East, F6 Extension and M2-F3 Link. iNSW released its strategy called First Things First in 2012, targeted towards supply side road improvements and supply side measures[6]. The strategy outlined the expansions of the M4 and M5 as the two highest priorities for motorway work. This lead to the creation of the WestConnex Delivery Authority in 2013, who’s primary purpose is to assess the “viability of northern and southern extensions to the scheme “and to deliver the project. The project provides a western bypass of Sydney’s CBD, leading to the removal of heavy vehicle traffic along suburban arterial and urban regeneration. In August 2014, a second body in the Sydney Motorway Authority was created to finance the project. However due to governance issues, both entities were merged. The funding of the WestConnex is as follows (as per Sydney Road Network Plans and Prospects):

  • $1.8 billion in government funding from Restart NSW
  • $928 million from the Consolidated Fund
  • $1.5 billion from the Commonwealth Government
  • $2 billion separate concessional loan from the Government to accelerate Stage 2 of the WestConnex (the new M5)
  • An initial projected cost by Infrastructure NSW of $14.9 billion.

Throughout its conception, modifications were used futureproof the project, with possible extensions of the M4 East to cater for a third cross harbour tunnel and stub tunnels in the southern extension for a proposed southern motorway to the Illawarra and Sutherland Shires.


Stage 1:Edit

M4 Widening[7]Edit

Date Event
September 2013 Planning application for the M4 Widening was lodged with the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE)
October-November 2013 Community consultation with feedback being outlined in the M4 Widening Community Issues Report
March 2014 Shortlist of contractors was announced for the project
August - September 2014 The M4 widening Environmental Impact Statement(EIS) was exhibited for community comment and a community update and environmental overview were prepared
October 2014 A Submissions and Preferred Infrastructure Report was prepared in response to submissions received during the EIS exhibition period. The report was considered by the Department of Planning and Environment and informed the Minister for Planning, in the projects approval assessment.
August - September 2014 Environmental Impact Statement was exhibited for community comment
December 2014 The contract was awarded subject to a number of conditions set by the Department of Planning and Environment
March 2015 Construction began
January 2017 New interchange at Homebush Bay Drive opened to traffic enabling cars travelling south on Homebush Bay Drive access to M4 Motorway westbound via a ‘G-loop’ removing two sets of traffic lights
February 2017
  • Viaduct open to public
  • Work on resurfacing old westbound carriageway underway
July 2017 M4 Widening project opened

M4 East[8]Edit

Date Event
November 2013 The planning application for the M4 East was lodged with the Department of Planning and Environment
February 2014 Community consultation on the M4 East concept design concluded and the community feedback report has been published
May 2014 Expressions of interest to build the M4 East
August 2014 A shortlist of three consortia was announced and geotechnical investigations were carried out to support the tender process
June 2015 CPB Contractors Samsung John Holland Joint Venture was selected to deliver the M4 East from Homebush to Haberfield
February 2016 After an Environmental Impact Statement was exhibited to the public in September 2015 and Preferred Infrastructure report lodged to the Department of Planning and Environment, approval was received Planning approval for the M4 East project was received from the NSW Minister for Planning
April 2016 Site establishment works carried out at Sydney St, Northcote St and Concord Rd
May 2016 Construction work commences at all tunnel and surface works sites
July 2016
  • Parramatta Road Ventilation Facility piling commenced
  • Tunnelling at Cintra Park commenced
August 2016 Pilling begins at the Homebush Bay Drive construction site
2019 Estimated project completion

Stage 2:Edit

King Georges Road Interchange Upgrade[9]Edit

Date Event

May 2014

Planning application for the M5 – King Georges road interchange upgrade lodged with the Department of Planning and Environment
March 2015 After an Environmental Impact Statement was exhibited to the public and report lodged to the Department of Planning and Environment, approval was received
July 2015 Construction began
October 2016 The upgraded M5 Westbound off-ramp to King Georges Road opened to traffic.
December 2016 M5 ramps to King Georges Road opened to traffic
April 2017 Project Completion including shared path and landscaping

New M5[10]Edit

Date Event
September 2014 Expressions of interest for contractors to design and construct the M5 Extension were called
November 2014
  • The planning application for the M5 extension was lodged
  • A shortlist of consortia to construct the New M5 was announced
September 2015 The CPB contractors, Dragados Samsung joint venture was let the project
April 2016 After an Environmental Impact Statement was exhibited to the public and Preferred Infrastructure Report lodged to the Department of Planning and Environment approval was received from the NSW Minister for Planning
November 2016 Tunnelling started at the site of the St Peters Interchange
February 2017 Tunnelling started at the Arncliffe and Bexley construction sites
May 2017 Tunnelling started at the Kingsgrove construction site.
2020 Estimated project completion

Stage 3:Edit

M4-M5 Link[11]Edit

Date Event
September 2013 M4-M5 Link Executive Summary and proposal submitted
November 2015 Updated M4-M5 Link proposal submitted
January 2016 Sydney Motorway Corporation lodged the M4-M5 link State Significant Infrastructure Application Report
February 2016 Geotechnical and survey investigations underway to inform the early design options for the project
November 2016 Expressions of interest for contractors to design and construct the M4-M5 Link main tunnel works were called.
March 2017 Sydney Motorway Corporation lodged the M4-M5 Link State Significant Infrastructure Report Addendum 2.
May 2017 M4-M5 link concept design released for community feedback
February 2018 The M4-M5 Link Submissions and Preferred Infrastructure report released
2019-2023 Still in project planning phase with estimated project construction and completion

Policy IssuesEdit

Air QualityEdit

As part of the underground works, air quality mechanisms constructed to help redistribute the air from within the tunnels to above ground. This is important because of potential health implications that come with prolonged exposure. Air quality is defined by the concentration of particulate matter (PM) in the air. PM10 identifies particulate matter 10 micrometres or less in diameter whereas PM2.5 concerns matter that are 2.5 micrometres[12]. Air safety standards in NSW are as follows:

PM10:

  • Annual average 25 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3)
  • Daily average must not exceed 50 µg/m3

PM2.5

  • Annual average of 8 µg/m3
  • Daily average must not exceed 25 µg/m3

In a recent independent study, sites around the ventilation shafts in Haberfield were analysed for levels of pollutants. Data was provided by Ecotech. Figure 3 shows the rolling average of PM2.5 and PM10 over a 1-month period in Ramsey Street, Haberfield.

 
Figure 3: Particulate Matter Averages for Ramsey Street, Haberfield[13]

General trends of PM2.5 indicate an increase to 10 µg/m3, over the annual allowable average in NSW, and PM10 values close to the allowable average of 25 µg/m3. Pollutants dispensed in several ways, from ventilation stacks to the nearby traffic congestion and construction sites. Despite values within the boundaries currently allowable by state, the increasing trends pose an issue for analysts and locals alike. Excessive inhalation is detrimental for the health of residents in the long term, inducing illnesses such as dementia and heart disease. With traffic yet to be introduced to the M4 East and the redistribution behaviour of traffic flow unknown, this is a policy issue that is underestimated by the Government.

Land AcquisitionEdit

In a bid to minimise the impact the project has on Sydney’s inner west, two thirds of the project carried out in underground tunnels. However, above ground works such as construction of ramps, tunnel portals and construction facilities are required for the function of the Westconnex. As such many of the properties along the M4 east corridor had to be acquired from landowners, as per the Land Acquisition (Just Term Compensation) Act 1991. The process of which is as follows[14]:

  • An application is made by the WestConnex Delivery Authority to the minister of Roads Maritime Services to compulsorily acquire the property. Acquisition notice posted on the Government Gazette.
  • Legal ownership will be given to WestConnex Delivery Authority.
  • Within 30 days of publication a written notice is sent to the landowner with the value of compensation as determined by the Valuer-General
  • Landowners have 90 days to respond whether to accept the amount offered or object to the amount of compensation to the Land and Environmental Court
  • If accepted payment will be made within 28 days after WestConnex receives Deed of Release
  • If rejected a notice is to be given and due course dependent on decision of Land and Environmental Court

The most significant issue lies within the amount of compensation due to landowners as deemed by the Valuer-General (VG). Not that the VG must disregard the socio-economic impact of WestConnex when evaluating the property. As of October 2017, 84% of acquisitions have been mutually agreed without compulsory action[15]. Desane Group Holdings Inc. are one such example of the extended legal proceedings regarding the compulsory acquisition of their property on 68-72 Lilyfield Road, Rozelle. Evaluated at $18.4 million, Desane believe this is well below their valuation of $100 million. With a successful extension of a court-imposed injunction on the NSW government until late April 2018, these cases further delay the delivering of the M4 East corridor[16].

NarrativeEdit

In 2011, two strategic transport reports were published by Infrastructure NSW (iNSW) and Transport for NSW. Each of these reports identified that a connection between the M4 East and the M5 would be important for the functionality of the transport network with a growing population in Sydney. For this reason, the state government commissioned the ‘Westconnex’ project in 2011, placing the 33 km motorway connection as the state’s top road priority. In 2013, Sydney Motorway Corporation, in charge of delivering the project, presented a strategic business case outlining the program of work for WestConnex. Construction began in 2015 and the project is expected to finish by 2023 with a price tag of $16.8 billion. With an investment of this proportion the government hopes to not only improve the road system, but also the general communities of the area. The project was split into three phases, each with its own benefits and controversy.

Construction and OutcomesEdit

Stage 1 of WestConnex is to widen the M4 to four lanes in each direction between Church Street, Parramatta and Homebush Bay Drive and to extend the M4 east between Homebush Bay Drive and the City West Link at Haberfield. Construction began in 2015 and is expected to be completed by 2019 with a cost of $3.5 billion. This section of WestConnex is designed to lay the foundations for the M5-M4 connection and also to reduce the heavily congested Parramatta Rd. Currently the M4 directs traffic onto Parramatta Rd, which during peak hours becomes very congested. The average peak speed on this road is around 37 km/h during the PM traffic. Construction of the M4 east will be underground, following the same route as Parramatta rd. but bypassing much of the traffic. The road will remove 3,000 trucks a day from the road and it will bypass 52 traffic lights. It will also provide 10km of bus lanes which will almost halve travel times from the city to Burwood[17]. Therefore, this addition will help to not only reduce the traffic on Sydney’s major roads, but it will also improve the speed and reliability of public transport systems.

Stage 2 of WestConnex involves extending the M5 motorway through twin underground tunnels that run from Kingsgrove to the new St Peters Interchange. This will facilitate the construction of the M4-M5 link which will connect to the M5 at the St Peters Interchange. Construction began in 2016 and is expected to be completed by 2019, with a cost of $4.335 billion. These additional tunnels will effectively double the capacity of the M5 East and reduce travel times by up to 49% for the King Georges Road Interchange[18]. The construction of the St Peters interchange also aims to connect the M4/M5 to the airport and port via the planned Sydney Gateway. Sydney Gateway is set to open in 2023 and will assist in reducing travel times between the airport and most destinations in Sydney.

Stage 3 of WestConnex is the most complicated of the three phases. The main component is the M4-M5 link which consists of twin tunnels of four lanes linking the M4 in Haberfield to the St Peters interchange at the end of the M5. This stage of WestConnex will also connect these main tunnels to other major roadways such as the Rozelle Interchange, Wattle Street and the proposed West Harbour Tunnel. This stage is still in planning, with construction to start later this year. Construction is expected to be completed by 2023 with a cost of $7.247 billion[19]. This phase also aims to integrate the road development with that of the community by converting the Rozelle rail yards (used in the construction of the underground Rozelle intersection) into an open space and park. Therefore, in the construction of WestConnex, Sydney may not only improve its road network, but also its recreational value.

FeedbackEdit

In May 2016, protests were held in Balmain and Haberfield as residents opposed the M4-M5 link section of the project because of the effect it would have on their local communities[20]. Studies have concluded that the introduction of the underground Rozelle interchange would increase the traffic on local roads in the area (Haberfield in particular) by up to 300%. Additionally, 427 residential homes are being acquired to build WestConnex. Of these, 78 are in Haberfield and 53 of those are in the suburb’s heritage conservation area[21]. These changes to the local communities have angered many residents and, in their protests, called for a project audit and some even called for the project to be “scrapped altogether”. However, with many parts of the project already under construction at this point, whilst the project may affect some aspects of local communities, the major stakeholders of the project see that the benefit to Sydney as a whole is too valuable to be abandoned. To reduce this backlash from local communities, plans have been put in place to integrate the roads more seamlessly with the community. This involves plans such as the conversion of the Rozelle rail yards into a park, the 6 hectares of open space at the St Peters interchange and the planting of trees along surface roads both to improve visual appeal and to act as barriers to sound.

One of the largest concerns that is apparent in any major road construction such as WestConnex is the cost of using the road. Although the NSW and Federal governments have committed $1.8 billion and $6 billion respectively, this still leaves a generous sum of money that needs to be financed. Tolling is the most practical method of doing this and is currently being done on the existing sections of the M5 and M5. Tolls vary for each section of the WestConnex (between $4.11 and $6.77) but will be capped at a total of $8.95 for the entire WestConnex. If used twice daily, every working day, these prices can add up and hence many road users may opt to travel along other routes. A survey conducted in 2016 concluded that over 60% of Parramatta voters would prefer to use roads that were not tolled than Westconnex[22]. However, it is important to note that the survey was sponsored by a group opposing the road construction, so the participants are likely those with similar opinions. Regardless, valuable decreases in travel time (up to 20 minutes from Parramatta to the City) will likely convince many drivers, and particularly trucks, to pay the tolls.

DiscussionEdit

CongestionEdit

Rapid housing developments in Greater Sydney suggests a stronger allocation of residents moving further away from the city. This would mean that more people are in need of a reliable means of transportation to reach their activities. Public infrastructure such as the Northwest Metrolink and the Southwest Link seek to weave these areas into the holistic network, but more strain is expected on major road corridors as cars remain Sydney’s most popular means of transport.

The WestConnex project aims to relieve this road congestion and in effect, improve the speed, reliability and safety of travel. Corridors affected include the M4 and M5, the Central Business District (CBD), Sydney Airport, and Port Botany, all of which were identified by the NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan as facing high constraints. Without intervention, congestion will reduce the average peak hour speeds in these corridors by up to 70% come 2031 [23].

Additionally, changed traffic conditions are required for construction, which has resulted in time delays for motorists along major roads. Even before the changes, the average speed along Parramatta Road between Concord and Ashfield was 25 km/h during morning and evening peak hours. More traffic was pushed onto this road and City West Link due to detours that drivers had to take because of the Ramsay Street closure in Haberfield. During peak times, residents have reported delays of up to 30 minutes to their travel journeys [24].

This project is a clear case of a supply attempting to meet the escalating demand of vehicular transportation. With the population expected to hit 6.62 million by 2040, the government is attempting to safeguard the future of Sydney’s faltering road network. However, there are no clear indications as to whether such a project is enough to circumvent traffic away from bottlenecks such as the City West Link, General Holmes Drive and Lyons Road. Theoretical predictions seem to suggest so but given the stochastic and dynamic nature of traffic, it is impossible to forecast traffic behaviour, especially in areas of congestion.

Road Upgrade vs. Public TransportEdit

Although WestConnex aims to increase accessibility by connecting key land uses and deal with population growth by expanding the network, this could also be achieved with increased public transport networks. However, while the Government is making significant investments in public transport, including Sydney Metro, Sydney Light Rail and enhancements to the suburban rail network, it recognises that the road network serves a diverse range of purposes. Many of these are not ideally served by public transport, such as commercial and freight road users, and light commercial vehicles (e.g. delivery vans). The NSW freight task is a particularly important issue, as by 2031, it is projected to nearly double (relative to 2011) to 794 million tonnes[25]. The major benefactors are the shipping distributors currently located in Port Botany and Sydney Airport. Ease of congestion is crucial to the well-being of the industry.

In regards to the argument for further focus on the public transport system over roads in the inner west, the upgraded road network will support public transport investments since buses also rely on the road network. It must be noted that the majority of traffic through the inner west comes from the greater west. By introducing an underground corridor, it is expected that most traffic will bypass this area. A faster flow of traffic in Sydney’s inner west would allow buses to travel faster and more efficiently. This would be seen as an indirect improvement of the public transport system. Currently, the inner west has a magnitude of public transport options from trains to buses and light rail. A limited transport system would provide only a short term solution for a limited area as opposed to a broader holistic solution. Hence, to the government, upgrading the road network is a viable solution to improved access and increased transport network demand as opposed even more focus on public transport.

Air QualityEdit

The tunnels involved in the WestConnex project have been designed to try and minimise their potential impacts on the surrounding air quality. The tunnels have ventilation facilities that meet strict guidelines. Additionally, air quality monitoring has been undertaken during the planning and assessment phase in the areas near the project corridor, and will continue inside the road tunnels once they are opened to ensure that standards are met[26]. However, inner west Sydney residents are concerned that the project will result in an increase in traffic and hence, and increase in air pollution from vehicle emissions.

WestConnex will move vehicles from surface roads into underground motorway tunnels, which in turn would improve the air quality in these areas. Given the general fluid nature of motorways, less time will be spent stationary for the commuter, thereby reducing the amount of time needed to travel the inner west corridor. This will inherently decrease the amount of pollutants exhausted by each car and by extension, there will be less pollutants overall for the inner west. Additionally, the ventilation stacks on the tunnels will be able to disperse pollutants at a higher height than surface roads, resulting in less concentration of pollutants at ground level. However, health impacts are still a concern for the communities near the stack locations. For example, Haberfield Public School is situated 410 metres from one of the stacks, raising concerns from parents about the safety of their children [27]. However if the stacks are of appropriate height, it should be expected that the proper dispersion of polluted air will pose no threat to the immediate area. Despite this, independent testing within this area show that particulate matter levels are rising towards the maximum allowable concentration. Whether or not these belie EIS measurements remain to be seen but questions remain over the safety guidelines carried out by the WestConnex to protect the healthiness of residents above these corridors. This, with the added strain of construction vehicles and construction sites, are bound to push toxicity levels beyond tolerable levels.

Land AcquisitionEdit

Although the need for land acquisition has attempted to be minimised by more than two-thirds of WestConnex being in underground motorway tunnels, the Government is still required to acquire homes in Sydney’s inner-west for tunnel portals and ramps, interchanges, and construction facilities. The acquisition of non-NSW government owned property is conducted by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) [28]. There are many landowners who are upset at not only losing their properties, but also at how they are being undervalued. Some landowners say that the compensation being offered is only a fraction of what the property is potentially worth[29]. This has sparked court cases against RMS over compulsory acquisitions[30]. Additionally, as mentioned previously, the project requires demolition of 53 houses in the Haberfield Heritage Conservation Area. Because of the significance of this suburb to the Inner West’s cultural identity, locals are dismayed by the lack of interaction with the Government. This is exacerbated by the Chair of Greater Sydney Commission, Lucy Turnbull’s, lack of awareness to its destruction. Compulsory property acquisition is an unfortunate yet necessary tool for the government to increase the productivity and efficiency of transport infrastructure. That said, questions remain over the fairness of price and conduct of the government over these appraisals.

QuestionsEdit

  • Is the WestConnex the long term solution to the congested roads in Sydney’s road network? If so/not, why?
  • Are the increasing levels of pollutants along the corridors a long term issue?
  • Does the benefit to Sydney’s road network provided by WestConnex justify the impact of construction and its ongoing use on local communities?
  • What is the overarching opinion on the project in the eyes of the locals?
  • What is YOUR opinion on the project?
  • The conduct of the Government has come under scrutiny several times throughout the project. In what ways could they have better sold the idea of WestConnex to the local community?
  • Could there have been other ways the money invested be used to alleviate the targeted problems? If so what are they?

ReferencesEdit

  1. https://www.westconnex.com.au/sites/default/files/M4_Widening%20stage1_September%202013.pdf
  2. https://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/county_of_cumberland_planning_scheme
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/County_of_Cumberland_planning_scheme
  4. https://www.ozroads.com.au/NSW/history.htm
  5. https://www.ozroads.com.au/NSW/history.htm
  6. https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/researchpapers/Documents/sydneys-road-network-plans-and-prospects/Sydney%20Roads%20-%20Briefing%20Paper%20FINAL.pdf
  7. https://www.westconnex.com.au/projects/m4-widening
  8. https://www.westconnex.com.au/projects/m4-east
  9. https://www.westconnex.com.au/projects/king-georges-road-interchange-upgrade
  10. https://www.westconnex.com.au/projects/new-m5
  11. https://www.westconnex.com.au/projects/m4-m5-link
  12. https://asiapacificreport.nz/2018/04/06/westconnex-m4-east-violates-australian-pollution-standards-even-before-tunnel-opens/
  13. https://asiapacificreport.nz/2018/04/06/westconnex-m4-east-violates-australian-pollution-standards-even-before-tunnel-opens/
  14. http://www.fglaw.com.au/compulsory-acquisition-of-land-by-westconnex/
  15. https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/legal-bill-for-forced-property-purchases-jumps-to-more-than-650-million-20171028-gza5td.html
  16. https://theurbandeveloper.com/articles/desane-buys-leichhardt-warehouse-site-
  17. https://www.westconnex.com.au/sites/default/files/M4_Widening%20stage1_September%202013.pdf
  18. https://www.westconnex.com.au/sites/default/files/newm5_commupdate_aug2015.pdf
  19. https://www.westconnex.com.au/sites/default/files/M4-M5%20Link%20Concept%20Design%20-%20WCX%20website.pdf
  20. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-20/westconnex-community-meeting-in-balmain-ahead-of-audit/7430386
  21. http://www.afr.com/business/infrastructure/roads/westconnex-what-could-go-wrong-20160919-grjtlo
  22. https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/parramatta-voters-back-public-transport-over-westconnex-survey-20160625-gprppz.html
  23. https://www.westconnex.com.au/sites/default/files/WestConnex%20Updated%20Strategic%20Business%20Case%20-%20November%202015.pdf
  24. https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/inner-west/motorist-left-in-slow-lane-as-reopening-of-ramsay-st-pushed-back-due-to-weather/news-story/4037f564bf9e54b61b57b9b3c7fd6b3c
  25. https://www.westconnex.com.au/sites/default/files/WestConnex%20Updated%20Strategic%20Business%20Case%20-%20November%202015.pdf
  26. https://www.westconnex.com.au/air-quality
  27. https://asiapacificreport.nz/2018/04/06/westconnex-m4-east-violates-australian-pollution-standards-even-before-tunnel-opens/
  28. https://www.westconnex.com.au/sites/default/files/WestConnex%20Updated%20Strategic%20Business%20Case%20-%20November%202015.pdf
  29. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-30/the-policy-and-politics-surrounding-sydneys-westconnex/7459952
  30. https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/legal-bill-for-forced-property-purchases-jumps-to-more-than-650-million-20171028-gza5td.html