Due to digging through the M4-M5 Link Tunnels into the M8 Motorway for the first time by road headers, the Westconnex project has attained a milestone success.
Federal Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, said the two stages of the project were linked 41m beneath the ground at the St Peters Interchange.
He also added: “The Commonwealth and NSW have worked closely together on WestConnex and our joint financial commitments are delivering major benefits to Sydney motorists in reduced travel times, less congestion, and greater safety.”
According to Andrew Constance, New South Wales Minister for Transport and Roads, the breakthrough is the initial part of the plannes on the $3.2 billion project in 2021.
Mr. Constance continued: “The M4-M5 Link Tunnels are the missing link in Sydney’s motorway network. Once connected, the twin 7.5km tunnels will create an underground western bypass of the CBD.”
He also asserted: “These tunnels will change the way people move around Sydney, providing a link between the M4, M8 and through to the M5 corridor as well as connections to future motorway projects including Sydney Gateway, M6 Stage 1, and the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link via the Rozelle Interchange.”
As Howard Collins,Transport for NSW Acting Deputy Secretary, stated this project has significantly promoted the NSW economy and job opportunities during the previous year, which marked by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moreover, Collins said: “Of the more than 7,000 workers and subcontractors involved in the project to date, more than a third is from Western Sydney, highlighting the jobs and opportunities this project is creating for local workers and businesses. The project continues to be a major jobs driver with around 1,100 people currently working on the M4-M5 Link Tunnels and more than 400 contracts signed with NSW-based suppliers and companies.”
Matching to Andrew Head, WestConnex CEO, statement, the M4-M5 Link Tunnels currently have 28 road headers in function.
Further, Mr. Head mentioned that: “The M4-M5 Link is utilizing the largest number of road headers on a single project anywhere in Australia, each progressing at around 25 meters per week. Around 25 per cent of the road pavement has now been laid and the mechanical and electrical fit out of the tunnels is also under way.”
The application of the M4-M5 Link Tunnels, which will open in 2023, is that the drivers will have the chance to remain underground Haberfield and journey on up to four lanes through to the St Peters Interchange, using this new M4 Tunnels.
Further advantage of these tunnels is to boost the current travel time savings for drivers using WestConnex, which permits them to save up to 40 minutes on a journey between Parramatta and the Sydney airport.