Federal Member for Reid Craig Laundy and Drummoyne MP John Sidoti have hailed the start of work for the M4 East twin tunnels at Cintra Park in Concord as a major win for the local community.
The work has been opposed by The Greens and some residents concerned about excessive noise but Mr Laundy and Mr Sidoti said it will be welcomed by motorists.
“For too long, motorists have had to battle congestion on Parramatta Road without the proper road infrastructure in place,” Mr Laundy said.
“WestConnex will end that frustration and heralds a fresh chapter for Parramatta Road along with supporting improvements in public transport.”
Mr Laundy and Mr Sidoti today watched as a rig broke ground at Cintra Park to begin building an underground access ramp ahead of tunnelling which will start by the middle of the year.
“Cintra Park is the first of four tunnelling sites for the M4 East which will link Homebush and Haberfield, and because it’s the midway point it’s the perfect location,” Mr Sidoti said.
At up to 30 metres wide, the 5.5km tunnels will be among the widest constructed in the southern hemisphere.
In 2021, traffic volumes on sections of Parramatta Road are expected to be cut by up to 53 per cent as a result of WestConnex, compared with if nothing was done.
By 2031, truck numbers on Parramatta Road east of Concord are expected to be cut by 10,000 a day as they instead use the underground WestConnex motorway.
“Local roads will benefit too with traffic reductions forecast for Queens Road and Lyons Road West, Five Dock and City West Link and Marion Street, Leichhardt,” Mr Laundy said
The Cintra Park site will have direct access to Parramatta Road, reducing construction traffic impacts on local roads.
Four road headers will be sent underground to tunnel up to 50 metres below the surface, while another three sites will accommodate 14 more road headers.
“The community has already started benefiting from the M4 East with the newly completed hockey facilities at St Lukes Park, which include a world-class hockey field which has been applauded by Hockey NSW,” Mr Sidoti said.
The M4 East tunnels are scheduled to open in 2019 with the entire WestConnex motorway to be open in 2023. Once tunnelling is complete at Cintra Park, it will be returned for community use.