'There will be houses affected'
Close to 100 Sydney properties will be purchased to make room for the first stages of the WestConnex motorway according to Roads Minister Duncan Gay last week.PT1M59S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2yd0v 620 349 November 28, 2013
More than 100 properties through Sydney's west and inner west will be purchased to make room for the first stages of the O'Farrell government's WestConnex motorway.
The majority of the properties are residential, and most are around Underwood Road, Homebush, Concord Road, Concord, Parramatta Road, Ashfield, and the City West Link, Haberfield.
Duncan Gay: "The phone calls are currently under way." Photo: Brockwell Perks
The government started to notify businesses and homeowners on Thursday morning of the planned acquisition of their properties, Roads Minister Duncan Gay said, at the release of a preliminary "concept design" of the new motorway tunnel.
The first section of WestConnex to be built will be the widening of the existing M4 motorway from three lanes to four in each direction between Parramatta and North Strathfield.
A toll will be re-imposed on that motorway, which will help pay for the later sections. About 20 homes will need to be purchased along that existing section of motorway.
The second section of the WestConnex will be a six-lane tunnel from the M4 at North Strathfield under Parramatta Road, emerging in two places in the inner west.
There will be an entry and exit to Wattle Street, Ashfield and the City West Link which will be one lane in each direction. There will then be another entry and exit at Parramatta Road, Ashfield that will be two lanes in each direction, emerging near Ashfield Park.
Mr Gay and the acting chief executive of the WestConnex project, Paul Goldsmith, said most of the 100-odd properties affected would be near the entry and exit points of the tunnel. About 70 of the properties were residential.
"The phone calls are currently under way," Mr Gay said. "It's a matter of contacting people."
"If you don't get a phone call or don't get a letter, you're not one of the affected ones," he said.
Mr Gay compared the number of properties to be demolished with the more than 800 removed for the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the 1930s.
"While it is only a small number relative to the size of the project, for the people involved it's not a small issue," the Roads Minister said.
Mr Gay and Mr Goldsmith could not say where the necessary ventilation outlets for the tunnel would be built, but said this would be included in an environmental impact statement for the tunnel to be released late next year.
"On ventilation, we will need up to three ventilation outlets, generally located near the portals, so the entry and exit points of the motorways," Mr Goldsmith said.
Feedback on the design of the tunnel is open until February 2014, but construction is not due to start until mid-2016. Construction on the widening of the existing M4 is to start in early 2015.
Mr Gay also announced the government had started to seek expressions of interest from the construction industry for the widening project.
Greens transport spokeswoman Mehreen Faruqi immediately criticised the announcement as more evidence the government was pursuing outdated road-building policies.
“The billions going into Westconnex to build tunnels and acquire homes is billions not going into improving public transport to reduce congestion, make commutes faster and reduce pollution," Dr Faruqi said.