With much of the country temporarily shut-down to halt the spread of COVID-19, Australia is a different place today than even just a few short weeks ago. In Sydney, while its busy streets aren’t choked with cars right now, the NSW capital normally has worse congestion than other similar-sized international cities, such as San Francisco.
Sydney’s relatively-low population density has also contributed to a higher cost of transport and longer commutes than its international peers. So NSW’s Roads and Maritime Services has an ambitious task ahead over the next five years to deliver the largest single series of infrastructure investments in NSW’s history, the Easing Sydney's Congestion Program.
The program focuses on significant improvements to reduce transport congestion and transforming the state's roads, freight and maritime network to meet Sydney’s future transport and population needs. Firstly, the NSW Government is investing $600 million to build the M4 Smart Motorway project, which will introduce real-time intelligent technology to the Motorway between Pitt Street, Mays Hill and Mulgoa Road, Penrith, giving motorists a safer, smoother and more reliable journey.
A separate $30 million government initiative, the Parramatta Congestion Improvement Program, will reduce congestion for Parramatta’s Central Business District, Sydney’s second business hub. Improving access and upgrading key intersections to its central district will better meet traffic demands, increase through traffic and improve safety for all road users.
Pinch Point Programs
Over $825 million has been committed to fixing hundreds of pinch points across Sydney’s major road corridors to reduce traffic delays, ease congestion and lower travel times, particularly during weekday peak periods. CCTV cameras will monitor traffic to give drivers real-time information.
Other improvements include electronic message signs in key locations providing real-time traffic flow information and alerting road users to unforeseen network incidents. Traffic capacity at key intersections will be maximised by widening roads and extending turn bays, saving up to 50% in travel time during peak periods. Major projects in progress include:
- ‘$225 Million Program” - The original five-year $100 million Pinch Point Program delivered over 120 projects on 23 key corridors, leading to a 2012 government commitment of an additional $125 million for a further five years. To date, another 51 pinch point projects have been completed across the Sydney road network.
- $300 million Urban Roads Pinch Point Program - In 2015, $300 million was committed to ease congestion on 32 of Sydney’s busiest road corridors over the next 10 years. Traffic flows will be improved on major connecting roads including the Cumberland Highway, Parramatta Road, Old Windsor Road, The Kingsway, Campbelltown Road and Hoxton Park Road.
- The Gateway to the South Program aims to ease congestion and improve journey reliability on Sydney’s key southern corridors. Within this project, the government has committed $300 million to address critical pinch points along the A1, A3 and A6 routes south of the M5 Motorway.
- Pinch Point funding is also being used on the ongoing Bus Priority Infrastructure Program (‘BPIP’). To make bus services faster and more reliable, infrastructure improvements will include bus lanes, bus priority at intersections and more efficient bus stop placement.
- The Sydney Clearways Program will reduce congestion and delays on the city’s crowded road networks by installing new and extended clearways. So far, more than 720 km of clearways have been installed on some of Sydney’s busiest corridors.
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