Albanese axes Sydney’s newest spaghetti junction roadway
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The NSW Labor government has been blindsided by a federal decision to withdraw funding for a critical western Sydney interchange linking the M7 with the new toll-free M12 motorway to the city’s second airport.
The interchange- which will connect the existing M7 motorway to the under construction M12 to the new western Sydney airport – is one of 17 NSW projects that will no longer receive federal money under a major overhaul of infrastructure funding.
NSW Roads Minister John Graham said the state government would immediately push for the funding of the M7-M12 connection to be retained.
An artist’s impression of the interchange between the M12 and Elizabeth Drive near the M7 in western SydneyCredit: Nsw Government
“NSW is disappointed the Commonwealth intends to withdraw funding for a project in delivery that services Western Sydney Airport and will be pursuing maintenance of this funding in discussions over the coming days,” Graham said.
“We have agreed to keep talking to the Federal Government over the next week to get the best deal we can for NSW.”
Construction of the new interchange was due to begin by the end of this year.
Infrastructure Minister Catherine King on Thursday released the independent review of the 10-year, $120 billion pipeline of major works that found, without changes, it could not be delivered.
NSW has lost one-third of all projects axed in the federal government’s overhaul of infrastructure funding. King on Thursday announced 50 projects across the country which would be cut.
The multi-billion upgrade of the Great Western Highway between Katoomba and Lithgow and faster rail between Sydney and Newcastle are also on the federal government’s funding hit-list.
Other projects that will have federal funding pulled include commuter carparks at St Marys and Kingswood in Sydney’s west as well as one in Woy Woy on the Central Coast.
A deal struck last year with Transurban will see motorists pay tolls on the M7 motorway for an extra three years in exchange for the tolling giant widening the highway, building the interchange and connecting an arterial route near the city’s new airport.
The proposed M7-M12 link.
The former Coalition government accepted late last year an unsolicited proposal from a Transurban-led consortium to widen 23 kilometres of the motorway from two to three lanes in both directions between Prestons and Oakhurst, as well as building an interchange between the M7 and the new M12 motorway.
The interchange was to be partly funded by the NSW government.
King said the federal government’s changes would put its infrastructure program back on track.
“As part of responding to the findings of the review, the government has made necessary decisions to no longer provide funding at this time to some projects,” she said.
“This includes projects that were not realistically going to be delivered with the funding available, have made little to no progress over a significant amount of time, and projects that do not align with Commonwealth or state and territory priorities.”
Parramatta lord mayor Pierre Esber said the project needed to be retained.
“Within 10 to 12 years, there will be more people living west of Parramatta than east,” he said. “These things cost twice as much if you kick things down the road.”
- with Anthony Segaert
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