WestConnex is one the NSW Government’s key infrastructure projects which aims to ease congestion, create jobs and connect communities.
It is the largest integrated transport and urban revitalisation project in Australia.
The 33 kilometre project was a key recommendation of the State Infrastructure Strategy released in October 2012.
It brings together a number of important road projects which together form a vital link in Sydney’s Orbital Network. They include a widening of the M4 east of Parramatta, a duplication of the M5 East and new sections of motorway to provide a connection between the two key corridors.
WestConnex will support Sydney’s long term growth and boost the city’s economic productivity. It will:
- Provide quicker, more reliable trips between Western Sydney and the Port Botany/Sydney Airport precinct to support Sydney’s urban freight task
- Help distribute traffic across the wider road network, removing bottlenecks and relieving congestion for local trips
- Provide better connections along the M4 and M5 corridors to cater for the forecast growth in employment and population along these routes
- Allow urban revitalisation and increase opportunities for active and public transport along and across Parramatta Road.
Project Funding and Costs
WestConnex is being funded through an innovative financing strategy, which involves asset recycling.
The people of NSW will receive more than $20 billion in economic benefits and the total upfront cost to the NSW Government and taxpayers is less than $5 billion. This will ultimately be returned when the project is completed and sold down to the private sector.
That means the state gets much needed infrastructure for a relatively small initial outlay which it will get back for further infrastructure investment when the project is finished.
The WestConnex project, with an updated, enhanced design as included in the updated strategic business case, is valued at $16.8 billion.
With this updated scope, the project has a benefit-cost ratio of 1.88 including wider economic benefits.
That is, for every dollar spent on WestConnex, the project generates $1.88 in benefits, including valuable time savings for commuters and productivity gains freight operators.
The original design as announced in September 2013 was valued at $14.9 billion. This is the cost to deliver the project over 10 years taking into account inflation and rising labour costs. This is the same as the estimated cost to deliver the project in 2012 dollars of $11-11.5 billion, which is what the project would cost if it could be built in a single year.
With the fast-tracking of the New M5 from Beverly Hills to St Peters and the addition of significant enhancements to the project, the project delivery costs are now estimated at $16.8 billion.
Updated cost include:
- $1.2 billion for the improved alignment to provide connections at Rozelle to Anzac Bridge, Victoria Road and the future Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link.
- $402 million for an upgraded Sydney Gateway solution as recommended by Infrastructure NSW, which is now estimated to cost around $800 million
- $322 million to accommodate acceleration costs (costs primarily associated with planning, design and resourcing to support concurrent delivery of stages 1 and 2).
The NSW Government’s contribution includes $1.8 billion from Restart NSW, with the Commonwealth providing $1.5 billion in addition to a concessional loan of up to $2 billion to fast-track the New M5 from Beverly Hills to St Peters.
The NSW Government is investing $68 billion in infrastructure over the next four years, including public transport and roads. This includes public transport infrastructure such as Sydney Metro Northwest, the CBD and South East Light Rail, as well as investment in new ferries.
With more than one million extra people expected to be living in Sydney in the next decade, we need investment in both public transport and road infrastructure to support them. WestConnex is a critical part of that investment.
Tolling principles have been developed as part of the WestConnex business case. WestConnex will involve a distance-based tolling system similar to the M7.
There will be a minimum toll, allowing tolls to be capped at a maximum distance, ensuring equity for those travelling longer distances.
Cars will pay less than trucks, reflecting the greater wear and tear trucks have on the motorway, which is consistent with M2 and M5 tolling.
Tolling is necessary to fund WestConnex, which will deliver significant travel time savings across Sydney. Motorists will save up to 40 minutes between Parramatta and Sydney Airport and bypass up to 52 sets of traffic lights when the project is completed.
|Project||Open to traffic||Section||Maximum Toll* ||Traffic per day in 2031**|
|M4 Widening||2017||Parramatta (Church St) to Homebush (Homebush Bay Drive)||$4.21||163,800|
|M4 East||2019||Homebush (Homebush Bay Drive) to Haberfield (Parramatta Road and City West Link)||$3.65||132,400|
|New M5||2019||Beverly Hills (King Georges Rd) to St Peters (St Peters Interchange)||$5.72||37,200|
|M5 East||2019||Beverly Hills to General Holmes Drive||$5.71||49,300|
|M4-M5 Link||2023||Haberfield to St Peters||$6.01||105,000|
All tolls include 'Flag Fall' of $1.12 and all amounts are in 2015 dollars
Maximum toll for WestConnex M4 (Parramatta to Haberfield) = $6.74
Maximum capped toll for entire WestConnex = $7.95
*Source: Table 9.2 - WestConnex Updated Strategic Business Case - November 2015
**Source: Table 10.1 - WestConnex Updated Strategic Business Case - November 2015 (forecast average weekday traffic volumes - includes both directions)