Sadly the WestConnex behemoth can’t be stopped. Construction and destruction are well under way. The motorway tunnels running between Haberfield and St Peters are being built. Haberfield looks like a bomb site as does the area around Sydney Park, St Peters. Work on the Rozelle interchange has not yet begun but is earmarked to commence soon.
Glebe and Forest Lodge have gotten off relatively lightly. There are no construction or property acquisitions proposed in our suburbs. The M3 motorway tunnels will run well to our west, around the junction of Pyrmont Bridge Rd and Parramatta Rd. The impact of the completed WestConnex motorways will however be an increase in traffic on the approaches to Glebe and Forest Lodge, on Victoria Rd, the Anzac Bridge, City West Link and the Crescent, and more vehicles rat running through our suburb.
Huge number of truck movements around Glebe
There will also be an enormous increase in truck movements on the roads around Glebe and Forest Lodge as a consequence of the construction of the Rozelle interchange and the Western Harbour Tunnel, the redevelopment of the Sydney Fish Markets and the expansion of port facilities on Glebe Island. Truck movements are projected to increase nine-fold, to 3,200 a day by 2021. It is hoped that the City of Sydney will implement a ban on truck movements on the residential streets of Glebe and Forest Lodge, as the Inner West Council has proposed for Leichhardt.
Sale of WestConnex
On 31 August a consortium led by Transurban was announced as the successful bidder for a 51% stake in WestConnex. The State Government will receive $9.3 billion for the sale, considerably more than was projected. $5.3 billion of this will go towards WestConnex construction costs, which are likely to exceed $20 billion. As a result of the sale, Transurban will receive the toll revenues from WestConnex until 2060. Amongst the flaws of the WestConnex project is the enormous unrecovered cost and the fact that it doesn’t provide access to the Botany Bay port or the airport as originally proposed. Sydney may for many years lament the cost of this wasteful project, both the monetary cost and its destructive impact on inner city communities, and will wonder what public transport infrastructure could have been built for $20 billion.
The NSW Legislative Council will hold a public inquiry into WestConnex later this year. Witnesses will be called to answer questions on the WestConnex business case, the cost of the project, the process of the compulsory property acquisitions involved and the mismatch between the original goals of the project and the outcome. While some of the findings of the Inquiry will no doubt be embarrassing for the State Government, the damage will by then have been done.