The Coalition Against WestCONnex (CAW), a network of community groups opposed to WestConnex, today condemned the NSW government for many and continuing failures in the delivery of WestConnex M4 East project.
The opening of the M4 East tunnel is no cause for celebration for local residents living around entry and exit ramps in Haberfield, Ashfied and Concord or for drivers who face yet another toll in what is already the toll capital of the world.
Rather than being ‘state of the art’, residents described the M4 East as a “recipe for injury and accident.” After six years of enduring the planning and construction of the tunnel, they’re alarmed that poor design is causing confusion and accidents.
“No doubt there will be much hoopla and excitement by the tunnel builders (CSJ Joint Venture) at the opening. Forgive me, but I cannot share their joy. For me, the opening represents a series of unfulfilled promises by the NSW government, and WestConnex Transurban” says Sharon Laura, a Haberfield resident who lives close to the tunnel.
Laura who has represented the community at many meetings over the last five years says that the merging arrangements mean that “drivers have insufficient distance to merge and will be forced to compete for lanes against local road users and other drivers avoiding tolls.”
Residents have asked RMS to consider redesigns to avoid dangerous sharp turns for local traffic including at Bland Street and other streets. Some residents are unable to no lturn into their own driveways. They warn that serious accidents could occur when drivers with insufficient distance to merge, are forced to compete for lanes against local road users, and other drivers avoiding tolls.
Laura says that RMS have been made aware or residents concerns about the intersections, including at the major intersection of Wattle/Frederick Streets and Parramatta Road. “They say they’re monitoring the situation. Residents want a response, not just monitoring. Does there have to be a fatality - as there was at Church St “Parramatta - before RMS and resident concerns are taken seriously - and the Government directs a redesign and remedy?”
Laura describes the above ground experience around the tunnel as a joke. “It's a joke that the tunnel is being billed as ‘state of the art’ and providing a fantastic driver experience underground, while the above ground experience of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers is sub-standard and dangerous.”
Poles, columns and communication boxes are in the middle of paths, or pedestrian pram ramps at intersections. (Note: along Dalhousie St, Parramatta Road, Waratah St, Alt St, Ramsay St and Wattle St.)
A new shared pedestrian and cycle path along Parramatta Road, Ashfield between Ashfield Park and Bland St is dangerous, given its unprotected proximity to surface traffic.
CAW demands to know why two dedicated public transport lanes,along Parramatta Road, as required by M4 East Conditions of Approval have not been included, particularly as they were used to justify the approval for the tunnel.
The M4 East tunnel will encourage and generate more local traffic and will add to congestion and air pollution in the Inner West and City.
“The Government and WestConnex Transurban can spin it in so many ways, but the real legacy of WestConnex will be a city increasingly dependent on car travel, with more congestion and air pollution. WestConex is simply the wrong project at the wrong time. And we will all pay, and pay, for this mistake, for the next 40 years and more,“ says Laura.
CAW will protest around the M4 East on Saturday morning at 8 am. The protest will highlight community opposition to unfair tolls and privatisation of transport.
Information and details of situation in Haberfield are available from Sharon Laura - Haberfield resident - 0417022553
Sherrill Nixon - parent of students attending Haberfield Public School - 0407919900
For details about exact location of Saturday’s protests ring Chris Nash on 0408270747