WestCONnex gift to Beverly Hills – lower noise walls and traffic congestion

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment received more than 12,000 submissions from members of the the public and community organisations in response to the WestCONnex New M5 tollway proposal. 99.91% of these submissions objected to the project. The People’s M5 EIS team could only find one submission that supported the project.  Ten submissions  raised concerns rather than outright objecting to the New M5.

Hundreds of residents living in the Kingsgrove and Beverly Hills area were among those opposed to the project.

Many of these residents have been living near the old M5 for 15 years. They know from experience that living near a motorway is nothing like the glossy images produced by the WestCONnex graphics team. If the New M5 goes ahead, 0thers would live close to a new unfiltered ventilation stack and tunnel opening proposed at Kingsgrove; or near the Beverly Grove Park that is going to be carved up by WestCONnex, along with most of a critically endangered remnant of Cooks River Ironbark Forest.

There are many more residents living along Stoney Creek, Forest and Bexley Roads who don’t know yet that if the new tollway goes ahead the plan is for their environment to be more congested and more polluted. This is documented in AECOM’s New M5 EIS although most residents have not yet been informed of these impacts. ( We will come back to this in a later post.)

What most people don’t know is that WestCONnex has already been given approval by the NSW Baird government to begin widening the intersection at King Georges Road and the existing M5. This project, which is known as the King Georges Interchange Upgrade, is massively disrupting the lives of residents, some of whom have watched with dismay as vegetation and parks that slowly grew after the M5 sliced up their neighbourhood are torn down by WestCONnex.

The King Georges Interchange project doesn’t make the WestCONnex’s Stage 2 New M5 tunnel inevitable but what it does do is provide an excellent place to start if you want to understand some of the key arguments against the WestCONnex. It  also provides a strong warning against trusting promises by Sydney Motorway Corporation (WestCONnex) or the Department of Planning of future mitigation of the worst impacts of motorways.

NSW Premier Mike Baird recently told the Sydney Morning Herald that some “displacement” and “loss of green space” is an unfortunate consequence of building  ‘infrastructure” to cater for future growth …otherwise the city will come to a halt.”

The problem with Baird’s argument is that there is lots of evidence that the WestCONnex won’t solve traffic congestion. Yes, residents would suffer both during the construction and operation of WestCONnex, but no, traffic congestion will not be solved. In some suburbs it will be worse.

You will notice that Baird also made no mention of the consequences of increased air pollution and noise for those living near congested roads. Continue reading

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Part 2 Chris Standen: New M5 EIS fails to meet requirements

(Ed: The New M5 is being assessed under State Significant provisions of the NSW Environment, Planning and Assessment Act. Under this law, the Department prepares  the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs). You can read a full copy of the SEARS here.

This is the second part of  Transport planning and modelling specialist Chris Standen’s  four part submission. In this part, Standen analyses the SEARS and finds the EIS does not meet a number of requirements. It’s worth noting that some local Councils and other experts agreed with Standen that the M4 EIS requirements were not met by the Westconnex EIS.  The failure to meet requirements should be a serious matter that if allowed to pass without examination undermines the entire assessment process. No decision has been made on the M4 East project yet.

( If you have missed the first part of his submission, read it here.)  

The submission has been presented by the People’s M5 EIS is a format that suits wordpress. The full submission will be uploaded later on the People’s M4 EIS. You can use this and other submissions on the People’s M5 EIS to develop your own response. 

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SEARS

Alternatives

The SEARS provide for  an analysis of feasible alternatives to the carrying out of the proposal and proposal justification, including:

  • an analysis of alternatives/options considered, having regard to the proposal objectives (including an assessment of the environmental costs and benefits of the proposal relative to alternatives and the consequences of not carrying out the proposal), and whether or not the proposal is in the public interest,
  • justification for the preferred proposal taking into consideration the objects of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979,
  • details of the alternative ventilation options considered during the tunnel design to meet the air quality criteria for the proposal,
  • details of the short-listed route and tunnel options from the tender process and the criteria that was considered in the selection of the preferred route and tunnel design, and staging of the proposal and the broader WestConnex scheme, and in particular access to Sydney Airport and Port Botany and improved freight efficiencies.

Standen’s finding: FAIL 

Comment: The EIS does not include cost-benefit analysis, modelling, or any other objective analysis of feasible alternatives. Only cursory descriptions are provided.

No alternative staging strategies are described or objectively assessed. Continue reading

Traffic and Transport – Comment on New M5 Construction impacts

This post  by Anthony McCosker provides an assessment of the New M5 Environmental Impact Statement Traffic and Transport section which I have summarised here.  It deals with the impact of construction as assessed in the 150 page Chapter 9 of the EIS and associated 298 page Appendix G. In a further post I will  provide an assessment of the information in the EIS relating to the operation of the project.

The scope of the modelling does not allow for the full, system-wide effects of the construction traffic to be analysed sufficiently. Increasing the scope of the assessment would go some way to identifying the true impact of the construction on traffic, and would also better allow the cumulative impacts of the project on traffic and transport to be gauged.

Continue reading

Traffic and Transport Construction Impacts of New M5 – Summary of AECOM’s EIS

Ploughing through the whole EIS can be time consuming and tedious as there is so much repetition in the Westconnex EIS documents.

Researcher Anthony McCosker has provided us with a summary of the construction impacts as set out in New M5 EIS Appendix G on Traffic and Transport which consists of 298 pages.

This post should  be read in conjunction with Anthony McClosker’s comment on this section.

Later, we will provide a summary of the information in the EIS relating to the operation of the WestConnex project (note that some information deemed relevant to both summaries will cross over and be repeated or revisited).

Continue reading

Vol-1A Chapter-06 Construction-work

Previous chapter: Vol 1A Chapter 05 Project description

Vol 1A Chapter 06 Construction work

Pdfs:

Section Pages
6 Construction work 6-1
6.1 Construction strategy 6-1
6.2 Construction program 6-2
6.3 Construction footprint 6-3
6.4 Construction methodology 6-13
6.5 Construction activities 6-15
6.6 Traffic management and access 6-70
6.7 Construction workforce and works hours 6-78
6.8 Plant and equipment 6-84
6.9 Construction noise attenuation 6-89
6.10 Construction waste management 6-90
6.11 Construction resource use 6-93

Appendicies:

Next chapter: Vol 1A Chapter 07 Consultation