Sydney fleets set for faster journey

A new memorandum of understanding between the federal and NSW governments will mean construction of the WestConnex motorway will start earlier than expected.

WestConnex, a duplication of the M5 East, was set for construction in 2017, but an agreement surrounding funding from the federal government will mean it will start next year.

"[This] will enable WestConnex to be fully built much faster than would otherwise have been the case," Mr Abbott told reporters on May 16.

The 33 km motorway will link Sydney's west and south-west to the central city, Kingsford Smith Airport and Port Botany and should take thousands of vehicles off already congested suburban roads.

This project is estimated to cost $11 billion with the Abbott government initially providing $1.5 billion and the Baird government contributing $1.8 billion. The agreement will see another $2 billion from the federal government to initiate both stage one and stage two of construction simultaneously. 

Stage one sees the M4 widened and an extension built from Parramatta to Haberfield while stage two sees the M5 East duplicated from Beverly Hills to St Peters.

It is a major infrastructure upgrade for Sydney fleet services as it involves 19km of tunnels and 14km of new surface roads. In total, there will be a new three to four lane motorway in each direction. Fleets should also avoid more than 50 traffic lights as a result of WestConnex which will dramatically reduce fuel consumption with less idle time.

Westconnex is just one of three major infrastructure changes in the pipeline for New South Wales with Northconnex, the construction of a tunnel between the M1 and M2 motorways and the duplication of the Pacific Highway from Newcastle to the Queensland border.

The announcement of Sydney's second airport at Badgerys Creek will also see upgrades to suburban roads in the Sydney's west.

All three stages of Westconnex are expected to be completed by 2023.