Construction to begin next year on new Sydney motorway tunnel

The NSW government will push ahead with a $2.5 billion motorway tunnel between Kogarah and Arncliffe but doubt remains over a future extension south towards the Sutherland shire.

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance on Monday announced the government had signed a $2.52 billion contract for stage one,which involves tunnelling four kilometres between President Avenue in Kogarah to the WestConnex Motorway in Arncliffe.

NSW Transport Minister announces the M6 contract on Monday.

NSW Transport Minister announces the M6 contract on Monday.Nick Moir

But asked whether the government still intended to extend a second stage of the M6 motorway on to Taren Point and south to Loftus,Mr Constance said the government was still doing its homework.

“As part of doing our homework we’ll work out where we’re going to build it to,” he said.

“We’ll come back to you where we’re going to build it to. When you build a project like that you’re going to obviously cause enormous disruption and we’ve got to work through that.”

Construction on the twin tunnels will begin early next year,and be completed by 2025,a year later than the government first intended.

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A plan to extend the motorway from Loftus south through the Royal National Park was abandoned in 2017.

The government has allocated $30 million towards planning for stage two,which includes a business case and the preferred alignment,Mr Constance said.

“These pieces of work are required before the NSW government can consider an investment decision in further stages of the M6,” he said.

Motorists will be charged $2.44 for a one-way journey on the 4-kilometre stretch of the first stage of the motorway by 2025,but will end up paying more as they will have no choice but to connect to the WestConnex toll road.

The new stage one tunnels,being constructed by CIMIC Group’s CPB Contractors and UGL in a joint venture with Ghella,is slated to save motorists 15 minutes between Kogarah and the Anzac Bridge,as well as 12 minutes from Mascot to Taren Point.

The motorway was previously known as the F6 extension,with a corridor reserved for the road since the 1950s.

Mr Constance said the 4 kilometre tunnels would bypass 23 sets of traffic lights and reduce traffic on General Homes Drive by about 10,000 vehicles per day.

Seven commercial properties and four homes will be acquired as part of the build.

Mr Constance said he expected an improved process for any future acquisitions as the transport department conducts an internal review into the practice followinga damning Auditor-General’s report last week.

Opposition roads spokesman John Graham said the government was focusing too much on toll roads and not enough on public transport.

“Without plans for public transport or stage two this is more about toll revenue than a transport solution,” Mr Graham said.

“That community concern has deepened after the minister was unwilling today to spell out the plans for stage two.”

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Tom Rabe is a State Political Reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald.

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