WestConnex has announced a revamp of the proposed M4-M5 Link. The entry and exit ramps on Parramatta Rd in Camperdown will not be built, the motorway tunnels running between Haberfield and St Peters will be widened from three to four lanes in each direction and the proposed route of the tunnels will be shifted westward away from Sydney University and Prince Alfred Hospital at Camperdown and its Cyclotron medical facility. There will be a mid-point tunnel construction site in Camperdown in the area between Mallet St, Bridge Rd and Parramatta Rd.
WestConnex intends that the mainline tunnels will be completed and opened for use by the end of 2022. The interchange at Rozelle Goods Yards will not however be completed and available for use until the end of 2023. Duncan Gay, Roads Minister, has said that the twin tunnels from Haberfield and St Peters could be built as a stand-alone project and will initially operate independently from the interchange at Rozelle and the proposed tunnel link to Iron Cove.
Ditching the traffic portals on Parramatta Rd is a positive outcome for Glebe and Forest Lodge. It was projected by WestConnex themselves that these entry and exit ramps would shunt an additional 20,000 vehicles per day onto Broadway and City Rd. This would have resulted in traffic gridlock in the southern CBD with the prospect of rat running through Glebe and Forest Lodge of traffic trying to avoid the gridlock. WestConnex has indicated that they now have no plans to build entry and exit ramps to the tunnels at any point between Rozelle and St Peters.
WestConnex has indicated they will continue to consult with the community before the design of the M4-M5 Link is finalised. WestConnex will release the Concept Design for the M4-M5 Link early next year. This will show the proposed corridor of the motorway tunnels and design of the Rozelle interchange. WestConnex will then seek feedback from the community on the Concept Design and will hold more information sessions. Mid next year the Environmental Impact Statement is expected to be released with a set period for submissions to the Department of Planning. The Department of Planning would be expected to make its determination on the EIS late next year.
While a significant threat to Glebe and Forest Lodge has been removed with the ditching of the traffic portals, the WestConnex project will inevitably worsen the traffic situation in the inner west. The Rozelle interchange will bring more traffic onto the Anzac Bridge, Victoria Rd and The Crescent, and the streets in Glebe and Forest Lodge will experience additional traffic flows as a result. The position will be considerably worse if, as is quite possible, the M4-M5 Link tunnels are not in fact built. In this situation, WestConnex traffic, including traffic heading to the airport and the port, will have to exit the tunnels at the Rozelle interchange and make their way east and south through the streets of the inner west.