Introduction: WestConnex M4 East Environmental Impact Statement

WestConnex M4 East Environmental Impact Statement

September 2015

Prepared for WestConnex Delivery Authority
Prepared by AECOM Australia Pty Ltd, GHD Pty Ltd

1. Introduction

This chapter provides a brief overview of the proposed M4 East project (the project), including its location and key features, and also outlines the benefits that would arise from the project.

This chapter also describes the purpose and structure of this environmental impact statement (EIS).

1.1 Project overview

The WestConnex Delivery Authority (WDA), on behalf of the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (Roads and Maritime), is seeking approval to upgrade and extend the M4 Motorway from Homebush Bay Drive at Homebush to Parramatta Road and City West Link (Wattle Street) at Haberfield. This includes twin tunnels about 5.5 kilometres long and associated surface works to connect to the existing road network. These proposed works are described as the M4 East project (the project). The regional context of the project is shown in Figure 1.1.

Approval is being sought under Part 5.1 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) (EP&A Act). On 5 December 2014, the project was declared by the Minister for Planning to be State significant infrastructure and critical State significant infrastructure, under sections 115U(4) and 115V of the EP&A Act and clause 16 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (State and Regional Development) 2011. An EIS is therefore required under section 115Z of the EP&A Act.

The project is a component of WestConnex, which is a proposal to provide a 33 kilometre motorway linking Sydney’s west and south-west with Sydney Airport and the Port Botany precinct. The location of WestConnex is shown in Figure 1.2. The individual components of WestConnex are:

  • M4 Widening – Pitt Street at Parramatta to Homebush Bay Drive at Homebush (planning approval granted and under construction)
  • M4 East (the subject of this report)
  • New M5 – King Georges Road at Beverly Hills to St Peters (planning application lodged and subject to planning approval)
  • King Georges Road Interchange Upgrade (planning approval granted and work has commenced)
  • M4–M5 Link – Haberfield to St Peters, including the Southern Gateway and Southern Extension (undergoing concept development and subject to planning approval).

Separate planning applications will be lodged for each individual component project. Each project will be assessed separately, but the impacts of each project will also be considered in the context of the wider WestConnex.

Planning approval for the M4 Widening project (M4 Widening) was granted on 21 December 2014 and work commenced in March 2015. Subject to approval, parts of the project construction works may be undertaken concurrently with the M4 Widening works. Planning approval for the King Georges Road Interchange Upgrade project was granted on 3 March 2015 and work commenced in July 2015.

A planning application was made for the New M5 project in November 2014. A separate planning application will be made for the possible future M4–M5 Link project (M4–M5 Link) following further concept development.

The NSW Government has established WDA to deliver WestConnex. WDA has been established as an independent public subsidiary corporation of Roads and Maritime. Its role and functions are set out in Part 4A of the Transport Administration (General) Regulation 2013 (NSW). WDA is project managing the planning approval process for the project on behalf of Roads and Maritime. However, for the purpose of this planning application for the project, Roads and Maritime is the proponent.

Map of Sydney Motorways
Figure 1.1 Regional context of the project
Map of WestConnex route through Sydney
Figure 1.2 WestConnex

1.2 Project location

The project is generally located in the inner west region of Sydney within the Auburn, Strathfield, Canada Bay, Burwood and Ashfield local government areas (LGAs). The project travels through 10 suburbs: Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush West, Homebush, North Strathfield, Strathfield, Concord, Burwood, Croydon, Ashfield and Haberfield. The local context of the project is shown in Figure 1.3.

The project is generally located within the M4 and Parramatta Road corridor, which links Broadway at the southern end of the Sydney central business district (CBD) and Parramatta in Sydney’s west, about 20 kilometres to the west of the Sydney CBD. This corridor also provides the key link between the Sydney CBD and areas further west of Parramatta (such as Penrith and western NSW).

The western end of the project is located at the interchange between Homebush Bay Drive and the M4, about 13 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD. The project at this location would tie in with the M4 Widening project in the vicinity of Homebush Bay Drive. The tunnel dive structures would start at the centre of the M4, west of the existing pedestrian footbridge over the M4 at Pomeroy Street, and would continue underground to the north of the existing M4 and Parramatta Road, before crossing beneath Parramatta Road at Broughton Street at Burwood. The tunnels would continue underground to the south of Parramatta Road until the intersection of Parramatta Road and Wattle Street at Haberfield. Ramps would connect the tunnels to Parramatta Road and Wattle Street (City West Link) at the eastern end of the project. The tunnels would end in a stub connection to the M4–M5 Link, near Alt Street at Haberfield.

The project would include interchanges between the tunnels and the above ground road network, along with other surface road works, at the following locations:

  • M4 and Homebush Bay Drive interchange at Sydney Olympic Park and Homebush (Homebush Bay Drive interchange)
  • Powells Creek, near George Street at North Strathfield (Powells Creek M4 on-ramp)
  • Queen Street at North Strathfield, near Parramatta Road (Queen Street westbound cycleway on- ramp)
  • M4 and Sydney Street, Concord Road and Parramatta Road interchange at North Strathfield (Concord Road interchange)
  • Wattle Street (City West Link), between Parramatta Road and Waratah Street at Haberfield (Wattle Street (City West Link) interchange)
  • Parramatta Road, between Bland Street and Orpington Street at Ashfield and Haberfield (Parramatta Road interchange).

1.3 Project features

The project would comprise the construction and operation of the following key features:

  • Widening, realignment and resurfacing of the M4 between Homebush Bay Drive and Underwood Road at Homebush
  • Upgrade of the existing Homebush Bay Drive interchange to connect the western end of the new tunnels to the existing M4 and Homebush Bay Drive, while maintaining all current surface connections
  • Two new three-lane tunnels (the mainline tunnels), one eastbound and one westbound, extending from west of Pomeroy Street at Homebush to near Alt Street at Haberfield, where they would terminate until the completion of the M4–M5 Link. Each tunnel would be about 5.5 kilometres long and would have a minimum internal clearance (height) to in-tunnel services of 5.3 metres
  • A new westbound on-ramp from Parramatta Road to the M4 at Powells Creek, west of George Street at North Strathfield
Map of WestConnex route between Homebush West and Haberfield
Figure 1.3 Local context of the project
  • An interchange at Concord Road, North Strathfield/Concord with on-ramps to the eastbound tunnel and off-ramps from the westbound tunnel. Access from the existing M4 to Concord Road would be maintained via Sydney Street. A new on-ramp would be provided from Concord Road southbound to the existing M4 westbound, and the existing on-ramp from Concord Road northbound to the existing M4 westbound would be removed
  • Modification of the intersection of the existing M4 and Parramatta Road, to remove the left turn movement from Parramatta Road eastbound to the existing M4 westbound
  • An interchange at Wattle Street (City West Link) at Haberfield, with an on-ramp to the westbound tunnel and an off-ramp from the eastbound tunnel. The project also includes on- and off-ramps at this interchange that would provide access to the M4–M5 Link. In addition, the westbound lanes of Wattle Street would be realigned
  • An interchange at Parramatta Road at Ashfield/Haberfield, with an on-ramp to the westbound tunnel and an off-ramp from the eastbound tunnel. In addition, the westbound lanes of Parramatta Road would be realigned
  • Installation of tunnel ventilation systems, including ventilation facilities within the existing M4 road reserve near Underwood Road at Homebush (western ventilation facility) and at the corner of Parramatta Road and Wattle Street at Haberfield (eastern ventilation facility). The eastern ventilation facility would serve both the project and the M4–M5 Link. Provision has also been made for a fresh air supply facility at Cintra Park at Concord
  • Associated surface road work on the arterial and local road network, including reconfiguration of lanes, changes to traffic signalling and phasing, and permanent road closures at a small number of local roads
  • Pedestrian and cycle facilities, including the permanent re-routing of part of the existing eastbound cycleway on the northern side of the M4 from west of Homebush Bay Drive (near Hill Road) to near Pomeroy Street, and a new westbound cycleway on-ramp connection from Queen Street at North Strathfield to the existing M4
  • Tunnel support systems and services such as electricity substations, fire pump rooms and tanks, water treatment facilities, and fire and life safety systems including emergency evacuation infrastructure
  • Motorway operations complex on the northern side of the existing M4, east of the Homebush Bay Drive interchange
  • Provision of road infrastructure and services to support the future implementation of smart motorway operations (subject to separate planning approval)
  • Installation of tolling gantries and traffic control systems along the length of the project
  • Provision of new and modified noise walls
  • Provision of low noise pavement for new and modified sections of the existing M4
  • Temporary construction ancillary facilities and temporary works to facilitate the construction of the project.

The project does not include work required for reconfiguring Parramatta Road as part of the urban transformation program. The project does not include ongoing motorway maintenance activities during operation. These would be subject to separate assessment and approval as appropriate.

Construction activities associated with the project would generally include:

  • Enabling and temporary works, including construction power, water supply, ancillary site establishment, demolition works, property adjustments and public transport modifications (if required)
  • Construction of the road tunnels, interchanges, intersections and roadside infrastructure
  • Haulage of spoil generated during tunnelling and excavation activities
  • Fitout of the road tunnels and support infrastructure, including ventilation and emergency response systems
  • Construction and fitout of the motorway operations complex and other ancillary operations buildings
  • Realignment, modification or replacement of surface roads, bridges and underpasses
  • Implementation of environmental management and pollution control facilities for the project.

The project assessed in this EIS does not include surveys, sampling or investigation to inform the design or assessment, such as test drilling, test excavations, geotechnical investigations, or other tests. It also does not include adjustments to, or relocation of, existing utilities infrastructure undertaken prior to commencement of construction. These would be subject to separate assessment and approval as appropriate.

Further details on the project can be found in Chapter 5 (Project description) and Chapter 6 (Construction work).

1.4 Benefits of the project

Parramatta Road is Sydney’s main east-west route, and the only continuous route between Parramatta and the Sydney CBD. The section of Parramatta Road between Burwood and the Sydney CBD is identified in the NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan (Transport for NSW 2012a) (Transport Master Plan) as the most important Sydney transport corridor, due largely to it having the highest public transport movements of any corridor in Sydney. As described in Chapter 3 (Strategic context and project need), Parramatta Road currently experiences heavy traffic congestion, particularly during peak travel times. This results in slow speeds and unreliable travel times for motorists, buses, commercial and freight vehicles, as well as poor amenity for residents and businesses located along Parramatta Road.

Due to the existing traffic numbers along Parramatta Road, east-west movements are given priority, limiting other movements such as north-south movements from Parramatta Road (via right turn bays) to streets north or south of the corridor. Traffic light signalling also limits the amount of time available for north-south movements, including pedestrian movements. Parramatta Road has thus become a barrier for north-south movements, with only limited locations enabling movements across or from the corridor.

The project would:

  • Provide a motorway standard link between Concord and Haberfield which would provide reliability and savings in travel time for through traffic
  • Provide improved access and travel along and across Parramatta Road for local vehicle trips and for active transport
  • Enable improvements to public transport on Parramatta Road, including provision of kerbside bus lanes between Burwood Road at Burwood/Concord and Chandos Street at Ashfield/Haberfield at project opening, and the possible future provision of rapid public transport services along Parramatta Road (bus rapid transit or light rail transit)
  • Facilitate urban renewal in precincts along Parramatta Road by improving local amenity with less traffic noise and vehicle emissions from congested traffic.

Together with the M4 Widening, the project would:

  • Support the economic development of Sydney by providing a high quality and efficient road connection for motorists and freight vehicles between Parramatta and Global Sydney (as defined in A Plan for Growing Sydney (NSW Government 2014a) (see discussion in Chapter 3)
  • Enable possible opportunities to transform Parramatta Road as well as local centres that exist alongside Parramatta Road
  • Provide better connectivity between local centres adjacent to Parramatta Road
  • Provide additional capacity to address existing traffic congestion on the M4 and Parramatta Road by separating longer distance through traffic from local traffic. Current traffic congestion is causing poor amenity along Parramatta Road and constraining the operation of existing businesses and efficient movement of freight
  • Accommodate rising travel demand created by increasing population and employment in high growth localities in the Parramatta to Strathfield corridor, including Sydney Olympic Park and Burwood.

1.5 Purpose of this environmental impact statement

This EIS has been prepared in accordance with the relevant provisions of the EP&A Act.

It has been prepared to address the environmental assessment requirements issued by the Secretary of the NSW Department of Planning and Environment on 16 June 2015 and the relevant provisions of Schedule 2 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (NSW).

In accordance with Part 5.1 of the EP&A Act, this EIS presents an assessment of all potential environmental issues identified during the planning and assessment of the project. The assessment considers the areas directly or indirectly affected by construction and operation of the project.

Public exhibition of the EIS gives the community, government agencies and other interested parties an understanding of the project and provides the opportunity to comment on the project. Roads and Maritime would consider this feedback in the further development of the project.

1.6 Structure of this environmental impact statement

This EIS is divided into two volumes.

Volume 1 has the following structure:

  • Introduction — provides a broad overview of the project, its location and scope (Chapter 1)
  • Assessment process – outlines the statutory requirements and explains the steps in the assessment and approval process (Chapter 2)
  • Strategic context and project need — provides the strategic context, explains the need for the project and identifies the project objectives (Chapter 3)
  • Project development and alternatives — reviews the alternatives and options considered in developing the project, including the consequences of not proceeding (Chapter 4)
  • Project description — provides a detailed description of the project including the route alignment, design standards and key design features (Chapter 5)
  • Construction work – describes the construction methodologies and staging (Chapter 6)
  • Consultation – outlines the consultation activities undertaken, issues raised and how these have been addressed (Chapter 7)
  • Assessment of environmental issues— identifies the environmental issues, assesses the impacts and proposes environmental management measures (Chapters 8 to 25)
  • Cumulative impacts – assesses the impacts which the project coupled with other projects in the region would have on the community (Chapter 26)
  • Sustainability – outlines how the project will be delivered in a manner that meets sustainability requirements throughout its planning, construction and operation (Chapter 27)
  • Environmental risk analysis – details the risk analysis process by which the potential environmental issues for assessment were identified (Chapter 28)
  • Summary of environmental management measures – collates all of the environmental management measures for the project identified through the impact assessment (Chapter 29)
  • Project justification and conclusion — presents the justification for the project, including consideration of the principles of ecologically sustainable development (ESD) and the objectives of the EP&A Act (Chapter 30).

Volume 2 contains the following supporting appendices:

  • Appendix A — Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements checklist
  • Appendix B — Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (NSW) checklist
  • Appendix C — Preferred design drawings
  • Appendix D — Properties affected by acquisition
  • Appendix E — Government agency submissions
  • Appendix F — Draft Community Consultation Framework
  • Appendix G — Technical Working Paper: Traffic and Transport Assessment
  • Appendix H — Technical Working Paper: Air Quality Impact Assessment
  • Appendix I — Technical Working Paper: Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment
  • Appendix J — Technical Working Paper: Human: Health Risk Assessment
  • Appendix K — Shadow diagrams
  • Appendix L — Technical Working Paper: Urban Design, Landscape character and Visual Impact Assessment
  • Appendix M — Technical Working Paper: Social Impact Assessment
  • Appendix N — Technical Working Paper: Economic Impact Assessment
  • Appendix O — Technical Working Paper: Soil and Water Quality Assessment Appendix
  • Appendix P — Technical Working Paper: Soil and Land Contamination Assessment
  • Appendix Q — Technical Working Paper: Surface Water – Flooding and Draining
  • Appendix R — Technical Working Paper: Groundwater Impact Assessment
  • Appendix S — Technical Working Paper: Non-Aboriginal Heritage Impact Assessment
  • Appendix T — Technical Working Paper: Biodiversity Impact Assessment
  • Appendix U — Detailed greenhouse gas calculations
  • Appendix V — Technical Working paper: Aboriginal Heritage Assessment
  • Appendix W — Climate change risk assessment framework

1.7 Directions used in this environmental impact statement

In this EIS, the existing M4 and Parramatta Road are considered to travel in an east–west direction at all times, even where parts of Parramatta Road follow a more north–south alignment. In this regard, all locations relative to Parramatta Road are referenced as being either to the north or to the south.

Because of this, Wattle Street is considered to travel in a north–south direction, and all locations relative to it are referenced as being either to the east or to the west.

In all cases, direction of travel is described as eastbound (towards the CBD) and westbound (towards Parramatta and Penrith).

This is shown in Figure 1.4.

Map of WestConnex route with traffic directions between Homebush West and Haberfield
Figure 1.4 Orientation and directional descriptions in this EIS
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