Heffron MP Ron Hoenig labels Westconnex road project $10 billion lemon

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Southern Courier: Heffron MP Ron Hoenig labels Westconnex road project $10 billion lemon. 19 August 2014

Heffron State MP Ron Hoenig last year described WestConnex as a ”$10 billion lemon”.

Have we been served a big fat $10 billion lemon?

Heffron State Labor MP Ron Hoenig first labelled the WestConnex road plan, the keystone of the state Liberal plan to fix Sydney’s transport problems, as a lemon 12 months ago and his cry is gaining support.

The Liberal Government recognised unlocking the Port Botany – Sydney Airport Precinct -Australia’s gateway to the world – as the key to ‘getting NSW moving again’ with the release of its 20-year State Infrastructure Strategy in March last year.

While, the WestConnex project was also linked to the $5.07 billion lease of Port Kembla and Port Botany, that saw the scrapping of the container cap that limited truck movement in and out of the port.

But with the release of the environmental impact statement for stage one of the project on Wednesday, it seems more traffic could be spilling onto local roads.

The map release shows the traffic from the WestConnex tunnel meeting existing surface roads en-route to Port Botany and Sydney Airport.

A M5 East tunnel direct to the airport is nowhere to be seen but what is most glaring is the lack of detail at the airport-ports end, according to Mr Hoenig.

“The Government is treating the electorate like fools,’’ he said.

Vision of the new WestConnex M4. Photo courtesy of NSW State government.

A WestConnex Development Authority (WDA) spokesman said WestConnex would deliver improved access to Port Botany and surrounding industrial areas but they stressed the final route was yet to be determined.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said WDA was now looking at whether WestConnext could be extended, either side of the M4 and M5, to create a new WestConnex north south corridor between Anzac Bridge and south of the airport.

But this is not part of the plans on exhibition.

Vision of the new WestConnex M4. Photo courtesy of NSW State government.

Mr Hoeing said the lack of information was unacceptable.

He is calling on the government to shed more light about the proposed south extension where the road was going and which homes would be affected.

“We not only have Australia’s biggest airport and port (which is 8km from the Westconnex), in our backyard, these are two major landmarks which will inevitably form part of the Westconnex plan, yet where are these plans?’’

“The Liberals have been in Government for three and half years, and all they have to show for it its pretty pictures of the road widening at the M4 at Parramatta.

“To call it a lemon is almost a compliment.’’

A WDA spokesman said Westconnex would deliver improved access to Port Botany and surrounding industrial zones but the final route is being investigated.

“The next step is to call expressions of interest later this year from industry to seek innovative solutions for the design and construction for this stage of Westconnex,’’ the spokesman said.

“This will allow the community, motorists and taxpayers to get the best possible design.’’

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