12.0 Objection to the poor assessment of construction impacts

The scope of the modelling for the impact of construction as assessed in the 150 page Chapter 9 of the EIS and associated 298 page Appendix G does not allow for the full, system-wide effects of the construction traffic to be analysed sufficiently. Increasing the scope 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.

Community facilities close to the construction works are given in Chapter 15 (Social and Economic), but the report states that “During the construction of the project, there is the potential for positive and negative impacts on residents, businesses, road users (including commercial and freight vehicles), users of community facilities and the wider community” (Appendix G, p. 100, emphasis added)—what will the positive impacts be? These are not outlined and difficult to imagine, especially as they relate to traffic and transport. 

“Tunnelling works (including fitout works but excluding blasting) would be undertaken 24 hours a day, seven days a week to minimise the overall length of construction and the duration of any associated amenity impacts on the local community. All activities that support tunnelling would also be required to be undertaken 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Handling of spoil at the surface would be required as stockpiling large amounts of spoil within the main alignment tunnels would not be feasible. Spoil is therefore required to be transported from the main alignment tunnels to stockpiles on the surface (within acoustic sheds and non-acoustic sheds), prior to haulage from the site” (Appendix G, p. 99)—spoil will be carried by heavy vehicles at all times, including peak times, leading to a greater disruption of local and regional road networks, and continuously throughout the night, which will be highly disruptive to residents located along local road networks upon which they travel 

Insufficient employee car parking is provided at many of the construction compounds

(Appendix G, p. 186), including:

-       Kingsgrove North construction compound, 170 employee parking spaces on-site, likely employee peak 200

-       Arncliffe construction compound, 220 employee parking spaces on-site, likely employee peak 300

-       Canal Road construction compound, 290 employee parking spaces on-site, likely employee peak 320

-       Campbell Road Bridge construction compound, 10 employee parking spaces on-site and likely employee peak of 15

The temporary impact on car parking in St Peters and Mascot due to construction includes:

-       Albert Street—loss of 44 on-street car parks

-       Campbell Road (between Campbell and Sydney Park Roads)—loss of 111 car parks

-       Euston Road (between Campbell and Sydney Park Roads)—loss of 112 car parks

-       Burrows Road (south-west of Campbell Road)—loss of 38 car parks

-       Burrows Road (north-east of Campbell Road)—loss of 23 car parks

-       Euston Road (north of Sydney Park Road)—loss of 24 car parks

-       Huntley Street (east of Euston Road)—loss of 32 scar parks

-       Barwon Park Road (north of Campbell Road)—loss of 6 car parks

-       Princess Highway—loss of 30 car parks

-       May Street—loss of 50 car parks

-       Unwins Bridge Road—loss of 39 car parks

-       Brown Street—loss of up to 16 car parks

-       Florence Street—loss of up to 16 car parks

-       St Peters Street—loss of up to 12 car parks

-       Hutchison Street—loss of up to 10 car parks

-       Gardeners Road (west of Bourke Street)—loss of 10 car parks

-       Gardeners Road (between Kent Road and Gardeners Road)—loss of 47 on-street car parks and 20 off-street parks

-       Bunnings Mascot—loss of 25 off-street car parks

-       Bourke Road (north of Bourke Street/Gardeners Road intersection)—loss of 26 off-street car parks 

The total figure is not given in the report, but it totals to 691 lost car parking spaces due to construction, in the St Peters and Mascot areas alone. This is in addition to the insufficient employee parking provision as outlined above, which will further add to the deficit of local parking

-       No further mention of these deficits and their likely impacts on residents, workers, visitors or businesses, or any plan to mitigate these impacts, is made in the report other than stating: “Residents and businesses could be negatively impacted by construction workers parking on local streets, with decreased parking available for business customers…Construction personnel would be encouraged to use public transport, active transport or other options, such as car-pooling” (Appendix G, p. 192) 

Level of Service (LoS) of roads, as modelled in the report, drops surrounding the construction compounds at the Western and Bexley Road surface works, the Arncliffe surface works and the St Peters surface works locations. Construction of the WestConnex project is directly attributable for these rises and if a poor LoS on roads is seen of enough of a concern by the NSW Government to introduce the WestConnex project in the first place it is unclear why declining LoS on roads locally as a direct result of construction is not of greater concern in the report, and dealt with more effectively throughout. For instance:

-       It is noted in the report that construction traffic from the Western and Bexley Road surface works construction compounds alone will consist of 4,860 vehicles a day (Appendix G, p. 146), 64% of these heavy vehicles, which (especially given the proportion of heavy vehicles) will have a significant impact on road functioning and amenity of all road users and residents

-       The St Peters construction precinct will lead to 3,035 additional construction light vehicle movements and 2,218 heavy vehicle movements daily. Further, “as the construction compounds are surrounded with local roads, use of the local roads is unavoidable to support the construction activities” (Appendix G, p. 185-186), so all of these movements will be occurring on local roads (including Canal Road, Campbell Road and Burrows Road)

“Almost 3.2 million cubic metres of surplus spoil to be generated by the site, which then requires offsite reuse or disposal. No decision has been made as to where to dump the spoil as yet, however potential sites given include 330 Captain Cook Drive, Kurnell (15km from project site), 738-780 Wallgrove Road, Horsley Park (40km away), 75 Townson Road, Schofields (55km away), on land west of Riverstone (60km away) and/or at 49 Manorhouse Boulevard, Quakers Hill (60km away).” (Appendix G, p. 194)—It is difficult to accurately assess the construction impacts on transport and traffic without knowing where the spoil is to be taken, especially as 80% of trips by heavy vehicles (Appendix G, p. 201) will be carrying spoil. Indeed, the impacts of carrying spoil to some of the proposed sites (such as those 60 kilometres away) must be far larger than carrying it to closer areas, yet this is not acknowledged in the report.

Cumulative construction impacts are insufficiently projected and consequently insufficiently addressed:

-       The King Georges Road Interchange Upgrade will occur concurrently with the New M5 project, yet cumulative impacts are simply waved away and not given sufficient analysis

-       The WestConnex stage 1 will also occur simultaneously, however again it is stated that cumulative impacts are unlikely. Such a fleeting analysis ignores the potential for construction fatigue, for long-term changes to travel and shopping behaviour and to changes in overall amenity for road users, among other likely impacts as a result of these projects being undertaken simultaneously

-       The Marrickville Metro Shopping Centre upgrade will also occur concurrently to the project, yet is again overlooked in terms of potential impacts other than construction traffic, which in itself will be significant when considered against that from the M5 project

-       The Green Square development, Mascot Station Town Centre Precinct Masterplan and Wolli Creek redevelopment area are each again overlooked in terms of their potential impacts on traffic and transport. Given their proximity to the M5, the scale at which these projects are to occur and the already poor LoS of roads around the project area, greater analyses (and, likely, measures) are necessary to adequately deal with the combined and multiplied effects of these developments on traffic in the area

Given the modelled and potential impact of this project during its construction phase, the environmental management measures (Appendix G, p. 207-208) proposed are deemed insufficient in scope, intent and detail. Each measure is responded to briefly below: 

Impact

Environmental management measure

Response

General

Develop Traffic Safety and Management Plans and related controls

Insufficient response given high volume of construction traffic generated and predominantly local street access to construction compounds. Such plans are necessary alongside the EIS so the traffic and transport impacts are able to be satisfactorily assessed

Road dilapidation reports prepared for certain road

See above comment

Road network performance and delays

Construction staging and temporary works developed to minimise impact on existing M5 and provide safe separation between work areas and traffic lanes

Insufficient response given the modelled, forecasted impacts and as most construction compounds are noted to be operational from 2016 to 2019. This is standard practice and cannot be claimed to be an environmental management measure to address “Road network performance and delays”

Vehicle routes developed which maximise the use of arterial roads

Insufficient response given the EIS report itself notes that “the construction compounds are surrounded with local roads, [so] use of the local roads is unavoidable to support the construction activities” (Appendix G, p. 185-186). More strategically and contextually appropriate construction compound placement could have mitigated this to an extent. Despite this “measure”, local roads remain essential to almost every heavy or light construction vehicle movement

Over dimensioned vehicles procured through specialist haulage companies with permits from Roads and Maritime

This is outside of the scope of the “Road network performance and delays” impact and instead is both standard practice (procurement through specialist company) and a requirement for the operation of such vehicles (permit obtained from RMS). The effects of these vehicles on road network performance are not actually dealt with through the measures listed

Lane occupancies planned to provide a safe work area, continued lane capacity and avoiding peak traffic periods

This “measure” refers to an action necessary under WH&S laws (provide a safe work area) and standard road construction practice

Pedestrian and cyclist movements

Measures to “safely manage pedestrians to and from bus stops, car parks, shopping centres, businesses, homes and any directly affected schools during construction. This includes selecting site compound access and egress points which avoid school children pedestrian access routes.”

Insufficient detail given in Traffic and Transport report to identify those locations that will be affected in terms of pedestrian accessibility and amenity, particularly schools and children’s pedestrian access routes. Such measures should be outlined in greater detail as part of this EIS report

Alternative cycle routes provided

Insufficient detail given in Traffic and Transport report to identify those locations that will be affected in terms of cyclist accessibility and amenity, and no details as to the extent that such routes will cause increased on-road wait times, increased journey time and distance given closures to shoulders and detours, and reduced overall amenity of the area, as stated in the EIS. Also no detail on how cyclist safety on local streets will be maintained given heavy vehicle usage on these streets

Public transport

Proposed bus stop and route changes would be discussed with service providers prior to works, and passengers notified. Temporary facilities supplied as necessary

Insufficient response to “Public transport” considering extent of effects of increased construction traffic and works on accessibility to stops, local and stop amenity, safety of public transport users, and travel times

“Where bus stops are relocated, pedestrian access will be maintained including (if

possible) disabled facilities”

Insufficient measure. This action should ensure that pedestrian access is maintained at the same or higher level, including provision of disabled facilities at any temporary stops provided

WAG formally and strongly objects to the construction impacts of this project and the poor assessment of these impacts in the EIS. We ask the Minister for Planning to reject the WestConnex New M5 project.

 


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