Tunnelling now complete on New M5

18 Dec 2018

A roadheader has completed a key underground tunnel breakthrough on the New M5 marking the connection of tunnelling for the project, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for WestConnex Stuart Ayres announced today.

The breakthrough happened at around 50m below ground, linking the Arncliffe tunnelling site with the new St Peters Interchange, completing key tunnelling works on the twin nine kilometre New M5 tunnels.

Opening to traffic in early 2020, the $4.3 billion New M5 will run parallel to the existing M5 East. It will provide a non-stop underground journey between Kingsgrove and St Peters, doubling capacity from two to four lanes in each direction. 

Premier Gladys Berejiklian marked the historic breakthrough with WestConnex Minister Stuart Ayres and Federal Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population the Hon Alan Tudge and the New M5 Project Director Ken Reynolds at the site of the St Peters Interchange.

“This significant milestone means that it is now possible to drive the entire length of the New M5 tunnels underground,” New M5 Project Director Ken Reynolds said.

“The New M5 will double the capacity of the M5 Corridor from two to four lanes in each direction, slashing commute times and helping commuters get home to their families faster.

“WestConnex is Australia’s biggest infrastructure project since the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and is also a major employer of apprentices and tradespeople, including 3000 from Western Sydney on the New M5 so far.

“In addition, On the New M5, more than 70 per cent of more than 800 contracts signed to date are with NSW-based suppliers and companies.

“Tunnelling activities have been underway for almost two years on the New M5, with 21 roadheaders working around the clock.”

At the peak of tunnelling around 750 workers made the underground journey each day to excavate around 20km of tunnels and ramps across four tunnelling sites.

Underground work will now turn to pavement installation and the mechanical and electrical fitout of the tunnels, including fire safety systems. Close to five kilometres of road pavement has already been laid.

There are currently around 2000 working on the New M5 project, including 250 apprentices.

Over the lifetime of WestConnex around 10,000 jobs will be created. There are currently more than 4000 people working across all three projects (the New M4, the New M5 and the M4-M5 Link).

The project is also having a significant economic impact in NSW, with more than 1600 contracts signed worth around $2 billion, most with NSW businesses.