“With these complex tunnels, drivers need to take their time getting used to the passage,” he said. “It’s not going to be easy at first, but over time as we all get used to moving through these tunnels… it’s going to make a real difference.”
The $3.9 billion interchange will connect the recently opened M4-M8 link between St Peters and Haberfield, the City West Link, the Anzac Bridge, Iron Cove and by 2028 the planned Western Harbor Tunnel. The latter will allow motorists to bypass the Central Business District and eliminate the need to use the Anzac Bridge and Western Distributor to travel between the Inner West and North Banks.
Graham said the Government has made “no apologies for then shifting our priorities to local roads” once the final part of the WestConnex project is completed this year.
Steven Keyser, project manager at the Rozelle interchange, said it is now in the final stages of testing and commissioning, which involves ensuring lights, signs, cameras and systems are working to design.
“It’s about the light, the camera, the action. “We’re nearing completion of the project,” he said.
A total of around 144,000 devices such as switches and signs have to be connected and tested. A high-tech control center for WestConnex in St. Peters will later monitor the interchange when it is operational.
While the pandemic disrupted the project, one of the biggest challenges was removing about 7 million tons of overburden from the site, which required 250,000 truck trips. Much of the overburden was used in the construction of Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek.
Keyser said the large number of highway and ventilation tunnels in a small area also adds to the complexity of the project. “We have two areas where three tunnels are stacked on top of each other. The deepest part is 55 meters [below the surface],” he said.
“What you don’t see behind all the panels is the network of cross passages equipped with electrical devices. [It has] Over a period of five years, 19,000 people were needed for this work.”
Camilla Drover, Deputy Minister for Infrastructure and Space at Transport for NSW, said the 1.1km Victoria Road Tunnel Bypass aims to halve traffic on Victoria Road and create opportunities for revitalization.
Drover said the interchange would help remove a traffic bottleneck on the Anzac Bridge and, together with the rest of WestConnex, save drivers 20 minutes of time between Parramatta and Sydney’s CBD.
As with the other WestConnex tunnels, the Rozelle interchange has a speed limit of 80 km/h, although it is designed for 90 km/h. The possibility of raising the speed limit to 90km/h was raised during the NSW election campaign in March, prompting the State Transport Authority to assess the impact of an eventual increase.
Distance-based tolls on the entire 21-mile WestConnex freeway are capped at $11.11 per trip for automobiles and motorcycles. WestConnex tolls will increase annually by the rate of inflation or 4 percent, whichever is greater.
Based on the numbers
- Almost 17 kilometers of motorway tunnels and 7 kilometers of mostly ventilation tunnels.
- 1.74 million meters of cable were laid for the tunnels.
- Almost 7 million tons of earth excavated.
- Installation of 132 jet fans, 335 emergency telephones and 7400 lights.
- Nine substations built.
- The project has required 38 traffic changes on surrounding roads since 2019.
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