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Road network around new airport may not cope with volume

Less than six years before it opens, questions are being asked if the road network around Western Sydney International Airport will cope with the expected volume of traffic.

Everyone knows about the upgrade of the Northern Road, a key part of the network around the new airport.

Also, planning is gathering pace on the upgrade to Elizabeth Drive, another key traffic corridor.

But NSW Labor says it fears federal and state government incompetence will lead to more congestion and heightened safety risks for motorists on roads surrounding the new Western Sydney Airport.

The airport itself is under way and on track, however the failure of the NSW Liberals to ensure projects begin on time and on – or under – budget, is jeopardising the success of the airport.

Leading authorities such as the Property Council of Australia have also expressed concerns regarding the failure of the Liberals to provide details or timelines regarding vital infrastructure projects.

The M12 motorway – linking the M7 to the Northern Road via the airport – is already two years behind schedule and predictably over budget.

There will be no fuel pipeline to the WSA up and running in 2026 meaning at least 43 B-Double fuel tankers will be required to ship fuel in every day.

No date divulging when or if a fuel pipeline will actually be constructed has been forthcoming either.

Rail provisions will be grossly inadequate with fears that the north-south rail line from the airport to St Marys – the only line to and from the airport – will not be complete in time for the WSA’s opening.

Add in the buses required to ship Macarthur residents to and from the airport, as well as freight logistics, and there are genuine concerns for roads surrounding the airport come 2026.

“The Western Sydney Airport is on track to be a congestion nightmare,” says Labor roads spokesman John Graham.

“Western Sydney was promised an airport, but will end up with a car park as roads around the airport reach gridlock.”

Airport roads nightmare: Labor MPs John Graham, left, and Greg Warren.

Greg Warren, the State Member for Campbelltown and Labor spokesman for Western Sydney, adds: “Councils like Penrith have raised genuine concerns about the progress of vital infrastructure in and around the aerotropolis.

“However, those concerns have continually been dismissed by the government.

“All the jobs, tourism and economic benefits will be stifled unless the Liberals ensure all adequate infrastructure is completed and operational by the time the airport opens.

“Planes are due to touch down in 2026 but the flow on effects will be felt across the entire Western Sydney region if roads, rail and other vital infrastructure are not completed on time.”

Planning is progressing for the proposed upgrade of Elizabeth Drive, with the community now invited to have their say on the strategic design and alignment.

Tanya Davis, State MP for Mulgoa, says said the proposed upgrade of the key road corridor would help to support the new Western Sydney International Airport and future Western Parkland City.

 “The NSW Government is planning ahead for the expected growth in Greater Sydney, with more than five million people already living in the region,” Mrs Davies said.

 “The proposed upgrade of the Elizabeth Drive between the M7 Motorway at Cecil Hills and The Northern Road at Luddenham would further support the predicted growth in region by providing two lanes in each direction.”

State Member for Camden Peter Sidgreaves says the display of the strategic design and alignment will give the community and other stakeholders a chance to provide key local knowledge.

 “The strategic design identifies where future road widening may be carried out as well as where future intersections would be and what they would look like so it is important the local community has their say,” Mr Sidgreaves said.

 “The proposed upgrade would also provide a shared path for pedestrians and cyclists as well as infrastructure for bus services.

  “The upgrade would not only increase road capacity but also improve safety for motorists while providing improved access to the Western Sydney International Airport,’’ he said.

Feedback on the proposed upgrade is invited until Thursday, April 9 and will be considered before finalising the proposal. Comments on the proposed upgrade can be provided by emailing elizabethdrive@rms.nsw.gov.au or in writing to Elizabeth Drive upgrade, Transport for NSW, PO Box 973, Parramatta NSW 2124.

 For more information about the proposed Elizabeth Drive upgrade visit the project page.

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