The second major WestConnex project, the $4.3 billion New M5 tunnels between Beverly Hills and St Peters, is scheduled to open in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said final safety checks are being carried out on the 9km twin tunnels, which will help get South Western Sydney moving again.
“Motorists will be able to travel from Beverly Hills to St Peters in around 10 minutes, while the project will ease congestion on the M5 East, saving up to half an hour on journeys between Liverpool and Sydney’s south during the peak,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“We have already seen the huge difference that the New M4 project has made for Western Sydney, and we expect similar time savings on the New M5 tunnels.
“In the first few weeks we expect drivers to take their time to get used to the changes, before seeing the full benefit of the project.”
Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said more than 18,000 workers have been involved in the delivery of the project.
“WestConnex is being delivered in four major stages, including the New M4 (now open), the New M5 tunnels and the M4-M5 Link and Rozelle Interchange, opening in 2023. When complete, WestConnex will provide drivers with a 33km, traffic-light free network,” Mr Tudge said.
Minister for Roads Andrew Constance said clear signs, including electronic messages and lane markings, are in place to give drivers plenty of notice when tolls come into effect.
“We’re encouraging drivers to plan ahead and allow extra travel time, particularly around Marsh Street and the King Georges Road off ramps, which are the last exits before the M5 East and New M5 tunnel tolls for motorists,” Mr Constance said.
“Follow the signs and make a decision early to be in the correct lane. If you miss these signs and make a wrong turn, you should always continue driving until you find a safe location to stop and replan your trip. It is not safe to stop or reverse in a motorway or tunnel environment.
“As with any major transport infrastructure, it will take some time before drivers are accustomed to the changed conditions. We advise people to be mindful of safety and changes to road configurations.”
The New M5 tunnels are future focused, with connections to the M4-M5 Link, Sydney Gateway to the airport, and the ‘missing link’ to Sydney’s south, the M6 Stage 1.
The new St Peters Interchange, a remediated landfill site, includes links to Campbell and Euston roads and two new Alexandra Canal crossings, the Campbell Road and Gardeners Road bridges.
The New M5 tunnels also include a significant investment in open space, including six hectares at St Peters Interchange and 14km of new and upgraded pedestrian and cycle paths.
On opening, a toll of $6.95 will apply. The M5 East will also be tolled to reflect the significant travel time improvements, with distance based tolls between $3.04 and $6.95.
Toll Relief will apply. Drivers who spend an average of $25 a week over a year are entitled to free registration. Drivers who spend an average of $15 a week over a year are entitled to half price registration.