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Minister defends toll cost ahead of M4 tunnel opening

Steve Price

Travelling between the city and the west is about to get much faster but it’s going to come at a significant cost.

The new M4 tunnels will open to traffic at 2am on Saturday, allowing motorists to bypass 22 sets of traffic lights from Homebush to Haberfield.

The $3.8-billion, 5.5km twin tunnels will be three lanes in each direction and are expected to take 67,000 cars off Parramatta Road each day.

But there are major concerns around the tolls, with the full trip costing cars $7.89 while trucks will pay a whopping $23.65.

Transport Minister Andrew Constance tells Steve Price toll roads are the only way to build the infrastructure Sydney desperately needs.

“It enables to build the infrastructure generations in advance, whilst not hitting the rest of the state’s finances, because we’ve got other responsibilities.

“We’ve still got Parramatta Rd open, so there’s still the free road alternative, which everyone has been using for generations.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview

NSW Transport Coordinator-General Marg Prendergast tells John Stanley they didn’t make the tunnels toll-free for a trial period because they didn’t want it to be too busy.

“We just didn’t want excessive traffic… we were worried it would really back into the tunnels. 

“Most importantly, people who are having a try of it, it wouldn’t actually give them the experience that they’d have when they normally use it.”

She’s also encouraging commuters to plan their trip online, where an animation shows you exactly what it’s like to drive through the tunnels.

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview

WestConnex projects still under construction:

  • New M5 will open in the middle of 2020
  • M4-M5 link, Haberfield to St Peters, opens in 2023
  • Rozelle Interchange opens in 2023
  • The Gateway, link from WestConnex to Sydney Airport, opens in 2023