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Government declares war on congestion

Published: 4 October 2016
Released by: The Premier

NSW Premier Mike Baird today announced the NSW Government will launch a once-in-a-generation assault on the urban congestion that has frustrated employers, workers and families in Sydney for decades.

“Sydneysiders know that they live in the greatest city, in the greatest state, in the greatest country in the world,” Mr Baird said.

“But we also know that clogged roads and crowded trains are like a heavy, wet blanket sitting on our lives.

“Whether commuting to work or heading out to enjoy this great city, we all want to get there quicker.

“Today we are announcing an exciting new project – a new rapid transit rail network, including a second Harbour rail crossing and Western Extension – that will unblock a major train bottleneck and transform this city.

“And for our long-suffering motorists, we are announcing two extensions to WestConnex that will, for the first time, provide an uninterrupted motorway corridor from Sydney’s south to the ANZAC Bridge, CBD at Darling Harbour and Sydney’s north,” Mr Baird said.

The 30-kilometre Sydney Rapid Transit (SRT) will extend the North West Rail Link, delivering a new rapid transit rail line under Sydney Harbour, through the CBD and on to Bankstown.

A second Harbour rail crossing was the next major rail project identified in the NSW Government’s Sydney’s Rail Future plan after the North West and South West Rail Links – both of which are now under construction.

Mr Baird said SRT will deliver three new CBD underground stations, 60 per cent more trains in the peak across the entire rail network and cater for an extra 100,000 people per hour.

The SRT project, combined with upgrades to existing lines, will provide:

  • capacity to run up to 30 trains per hour in each direction, with 98 per cent reliability;
  • more express trains from Penrith, Parramatta and Blacktown to the city that won’t be stuck behind all-stop trains;
  • Three new underground CBD railway stations on the new line, which will reduce crowding at Wynyard and Town Hall;
  • Modern, safe rapid transit trains which carry more customers per hour than double-deckers, reduced travel times and have more doors to make it quicker to get on and off; and
  • A turn-up-and-go service, meaning there will be no need for timetables.

The NSW Government is today also directing the WestConnex Delivery Authority to bring forward a business case to add two new WestConnex extensions in the:

  • South – linking towards Sutherland Shire and the Illawarra
  • North - linking towards the ANZAC Bridge and Victoria Road

Both extensions were identified as vital pieces of Sydney’s future infrastructure in the NSW Government’s Long Term Transport Master Plan, released in 2012.

Mr Baird said the two WestConnex extensions would provide a genuine north to south corridor, benefiting residents in southern and northern Sydney, while also addressing key congestion pinch points.

“These extensions will make travel from the city’s south to the CBD quicker and bring those areas closer to the city, as well as providing significant relief to the City West Link at Haberfield by allowing motorists to bypass traffic lights and connect directly to the CBD at Darling Harbour.

“An expanded WestConnex also means that M4 motorists travelling from Parramatta to Sydney’s CBD could completely avoid the City West Link and travel on a motorway all the way to the city,” he said.

Mr Baird said the Sydney Rapid Transit and WestConnex extensions would be made possible by the long-term lease of the State’s electricity distribution and transmission businesses.

“The expected $20 billion in proceeds will be recycled to turbocharge the delivery of key infrastructure projects like these that would otherwise be decades away,” Mr Baird said.

“We have always said that if Cabinet reached a decision to pursue this transaction we would seek a mandate to do so, and we are fulfilling that commitment.

“Today we stand at a crossroads. We have outlined our vision for the future of this state, and we will be taking this once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform this great city to the people of NSW in March 2015,” Mr Baird said.

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