Tunnelling work has commenced on the WestConnex M4 East motorway in New South Wales, Australia.
Four road headers have been placed underground to start work on the first WestConnex tunnel. Construction work will be carried out in both directions to create the 5.5km tunnels that will link Homebush with Haberfield, in the first stage of WestConnex.
The section between Homebush Bay Drive and Underwood Road is surface motorway, while the rest is twin 5.3m-high tunnels — three lanes in each direction from Homebush to Haberfield.
New South Wales premier Mike Baird said: “This is a milestone event for the congestion-busting WestConnex motorway, which will deliver more than $20bn in benefits to NSW and create 10,000 jobs during construction.
“Sydney can’t wait a minute longer for WestConnex which will cut 40 minutes from a typical journey between Parramatta and Sydney Airport, and bypass up to 52 sets of traffic lights.”
New South Wales minister for roads and freight Duncan Gay said that the government was getting on with delivering much-needed infrastructure for Sydney’s growing population, with tunnelling starting at four different sites over the coming months to build the M4 East, which will open to motorists in 2019.
Upon completion, WestConnex will join the M4 and M5 in a continuous motorway with connections at Rozelle, Camperdown, St Peters and Sydney Airport.
* Data provided by Timetric's Construction Intelligence Center.