WestConnex has been billed as the biggest infrastructure project that the country has ever seen. Its ultimate aim is to provide more reliable transport options across Sydney and its environs, which in turn should deliver greater economic benefits to the region.
The project is expected to last around 10 years in total, although some work has already began. In fact, it was announced in recent days that phase two of WestConnex would begin 18 months ahead of schedule, bringing greater opportunities for engineering recruitment across the city.
The forecast benefits of WestConnex
The advantages of WestConnex are forecast to be far-reaching, not only for Sydney residents, but also those visiting the city.
It's estimated that the journey time between Sydney Airport and Parramatta will be reduced by as much as 40 minutes, bringing benefits to tourists, businesspeople and local residents. Once the new roads are in place, travellers will be able to bypass as many as 52 sets of traffic lights.
There's also considerable potential for engineering recruitment. Forecasts suggest that not only will around 10,000 jobs be created over the course of the WestConnex project, but hundreds of apprenticeships will become available.
What does phase two entail?
The second phase of WestConnex will involve $130 million of funding being allocated to dealing with one of the slowest routes in the entire city. Upgrades are set to be made to the King Georges Road Interchange, which should bring benefits to more than 40,000 motorists who regularly use the road.
Forecasts suggest that out of the 100,000 motorists who regularly use this intersection, as many as half find themselves stuck in traffic at this intersection. However, once the WestConnex work had been completed, it's estimated that travel times will be reduced by as much as 50 per cent.
The WestConnex project will create 10,000 jobs, while hundreds of apprenticeships will also become available.
Congestion is a major problem for productivity in Sydney, as well as the local economy. Figures show that it costs New South Wales as a whole as much as $5 billion a year, so there are significant financial advantages to investing in this new infrastructure.
What the future has in store
There is another stage to the WestConnex rollout that will involve joining the M4 and M5 corridors using a motorway tunnel. Three lanes of traffic will be created in each direction, further alleviating pressure on inner-city roadways.
As the work gathers pace, there could be further potential for engineering professionals throughout the Sydney area. WestConnex still has several years left in it yet, as many of the key routes aren't due to open until 2017.