Council investing $500,000 to Analyse WestConnex

Inner West Council will spend $500,000 to examine the impacts of WestConnex on inner west streets.

The funds will include $250,000 for traffic modelling studies and $250,000 for consultants to assess Stage 3 of the Motorway project.

Council Administrator Richard Pearson said that Council had deep concerns about the impacts of WestConnex on local streets and communities and the State Government’s inadequate assessment of those impacts.

“The traffic study will identify the effect of ‘rat runs’ likely to be created by motorists who avoid paying WestConnex tolls,” he said.

“The State Government has no plans to carry out any work to address the problem until at least 12 months after WestConnex is operational.

“This is unacceptable and archaic – it amounts to the State Government sentencing inner west residents to years of traffic chaos.

“There is absolutely no reason why mitigation measures can’t be in place before these impacts begin to hit our local residents. If the State Government won’t do the work, then we will.

“For months we’ve been asking that Roads and Maritime Services provide traffic data that will allow us to carry out a study into the local traffic impacts of each Stage of WestConnex.

“They have not provided it so we will gather the information ourselves.”

The other $250,000 has been allocated to engage specialist engineering, air pollution and transport consultants to analyse WestConnex documents expected in the first half of 2017.

“The Stage 3 design plans and the environmental impact statement will all be released next year and it is essential that we are ready to assess them quickly and comprehensively,” said Mr Pearson.

“We need to act quickly to make sure we can lobby for the best possible outcomes for our residents. The advice provided by these experts will help to strengthen our submissions and advocacy.”

The traffic study will address what impacts WestConnex will have on local streets in and around Haberfield and Ashfield, St Peters and Tempe, and Rozelle and Leichhardt.

“The ‘rat running’ will occur as motorists either seek to avoid WestConnex tolls or where WestConnex has missing links – such as when Stage 1 opens but there is no direct connection to destinations like Sydney Airport,” said Mr Pearson.

“We don’t need a study to know that this will impact badly and perhaps permanently on our residential neighbourhoods. But we do need to identify which streets will be hit, and any traffic management measures that can be put in place to respond to these impacts.

“We can then use the information to lobby the State Government to fund those measures.”

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