The M4 tunnels connecting the newly widened M4 motorway between Homebush and Haberfield will open to the public this Saturday, July 13. The twin tunnels (each with three lanes) are the first of four tunnels to be unveiled from the NSW Government’s controversial WestConnex project.
There's a toll of $4.27 to use the $3.8 billion, 5.5-kilometre stretch of road, which will allow motorists to bypass up to 22 traffic lights. The total cost of using the length of the new M4 from Parramatta to Haberfield is $7.89 each way – over $15 for a daily commute. The government says those travelling from Parramatta to Sydney’s CBD may find their journey reduced by up to 20 minutes, and predicts traffic on Parramatta Road will be reduced by 53 per cent by 2021.
“WestConnex will take up to 10,000 trucks a day off Parramatta Road, which is welcome news for anyone who sits in bumper-to-bumper traffic on that notoriously congested corridor,” NSW Minister for Roads Andrew Constance said in a statement.
Work on this section of the $16.8 billion WestConnex project began in 2016. Other works include the New M5, the M4-M5 Link and the Rozelle Interchange, connecting Sydney’s west and south-west via more than 30 kilometres of continuous motorway.
The next stage will open in 2020, linking Kingsgrove and St Peters with nine kilometres of road. The final section, due for completion in 2023, will be the linking of the M4 at Haberfield with the M5 at St Peters, as well as an underground bypass of Victoria Road between the Iron Cove and Anzac bridges.
The WestConnex project has been the subject of much controversy, including the compulsory acquisition and destruction of homes, some of which were heritage listed, and damage to other properties during the works. Homeowners have also voiced concerns about ongoing air and noise pollution, increased suburban congestion in some areas, and inappropriate reimbursement for acquired homes.
The first stage of WestConnex is slated to open at 2am on Saturday July 13.