Work on the $4.3 billion New M5 reached a major milestone this week with tunnelling underway at the Arncliffe and Bexley construction sites.
Minister for WestConnex Stuart Ayres said work to deliver Australia’s largest transport project was pushing ahead with two roadheaders already working to build the New M5’s nine kilometre twin tunnels stretching from St Peters to Beverly Hills.
“These new tunnels will run roughly in parallel to the existing M5 East, expanding the overall motorway corridor from two to four lanes in each direction, doubling its capacity, and halving the time it takes for motorists to get from Beverly Hills to St Peters,” Mr Ayres said.
“We’re pushing ahead to deliver this project for western Sydney motorists, with tunnelling taking place 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at three of the four tunnelling sites, with additional roadheaders to launch from Kingsgrove later this year.
“Since November last year, when tunnelling first started at the site of the St Peters Interchange, the roadheaders have progressed by almost 150 metres. “Each roadheader weighs about 135 tonnes and is of capable removing close to 7.5 million tonnes of spoil – equivalent to enough rock to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool each week.”
The New M5 tunnels will be taller, wider and less steep than the existing M5 East to ensure a smoother ride for motorists and significantly reduced emissions. At the deepest point, the top of the tunnels will be around 70 metres below ground, with the average tunnel depth being 40 metres.
Above ground, work is taking shape with hundreds of staff and large machinery working on sites along the corridor, including at the St Peters Interchange and local road upgrades.
“When the project opens to traffic in early 2020, the New M5 will provide relief for motorists currently stuck on one of Sydney’s most congested roads, with average travel times close to halved and average travel speeds doubled during peak times,” Mr Ayres said.
“Tunnel stubs are also being built to allow for future connections to the M4-M5 Link and F6 Extension.”
“WestConnex will change the lives of tens of thousands of western Sydney motorists every day for the better and construction is progressing at multiple project sites to make that happen.”