Motorists will pay a high price for a much needed expansion of the M5 due by 2019. The State Government has confirmed plans to place a toll on the previously free section of the Motorway from King Georges Road into the City.
Work will begin next year on the second stage of the West Connex project which will see a new six lane tunnel built from King Georges Road to St Peters. The existing four lane tunnel through to Mascot will remain intact.
The key features for the second stage of West Connex include:
– New twin tunnels which are higher, wider and flatter, which will more than double capacity along the M5 East corridor and provide motorway access to north of Sydney Airport.
– A new interchange at an industrial site at St Peters, which reduces the impact on nearby residential areas.
– Connections from the interchange to key roads in the area, including Campbell Road/Street, Euston Road and across the canal to Bourke Road.
– Widening of Campbell Road/Street and Euston Road through existing road widening reservations.
However, there will be another four years before Stage 3 will be complete to link the M5 to the extended M4.
While the Government did confirm the toll would be distance based, it refuses to give any guidance of the cost for the new toll. It is expected to be in excess of $5 based similar road projects. This would bring the tolls into the City from the South West above $15 for the first time (excluding the cash back scheme that applies to some motorists – which reduces the cost by about $4).
The increase will be in addition to the existing toll that applies to the M5 West which was extended by another 3.3 years as part of the current expansion project between Prestons & King Georges Road. These additional lanes in both directions will open in full later this year after years of construction.
The Government believes the expansion will be well worth the cost cutting a peak hour trip along the notorious M5 by 25 minutes during peak hour.