The M12 will now become a reality after it received fast-tracked planning approval under the NSW Government’s COVID-19 economic recovery program.
In addition, $229.4 million in Federal funding was confirmed in the Budget on Tuesday night.
NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the M12 will be the east-west spine for the Aerotropolis precinct that will improve the connection between western Sydney, the rest of the city and beyond.
“The 16km corridor between the M7 Motorway at Cecil Hills and The Northern Road at Luddenham will not only provide access to the Western Sydney International Airport but will also link residential areas with job hubs and connect travellers with the rest of Sydney,” he said.
“Road capacity will increase, congestion and travel times will be reduced, and freight movements in and through western Sydney will be improved.”
Work on the jobs-generating project is expected to kick off in 2022 and be completed before the opening of the airport in 2026.
The motorway will open with two lanes in each direction, with capacity for an additional lane in each direction to cater for growth.
Reportedly tipped to cost $1.2 billion in 2015, project figures have since blown out to $2 billion, with design variations following community consultation partly to blame.
The new changes, including two additional connections – one along the M12 near Kemps Creek, linking Elizabeth Drive to the new airport, as well as another connection between Elizabeth Drive and the M12 further east near the M7, come at a cost of more than $280 million.
“These changes will benefit the local community through greater connectivity, improved access, and provide an additional toll-free option for drivers,” NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said.
“Conditions of the project include the delivery of a new cycleway from the M7 to The Northern Road, heritage and biodiversity protections and the requirement for a two-to-one tree replacement that will result in a net gain of 1,000 trees.”
The project is jointly funded on an 80:20 basis by the Commonwealth and State governments.
Alena Higgins is the Weekender’s Senior News Reporter, primarily covering courts and Council issues.