ATA backs Gillard on M5 and 'missing link'

ATA and its NSW branch support pledges from PM Julia Gillard on Sydney's M5 and M2

August 12, 2010

The trucking industry has backed a pledge by Prime Minister Julia Gillard to begin planning for an upgrade to Sydney’s M5 and M2 if Labor is re-elected on August 21.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and its NSW branch welcomed the proposal, which will allocate $150 million for planning work to link the F3 to the M2.

Under Gillard's plan, the F3 to M2 upgrade will be a new link between the F3 and the Sydney Orbital, with the alignment of the route being the corridor along Pennant Hills Road

While not committing to widening the M5, Gillard says she will work with NSW and Infrastructure Australia to look at private financing options to fund it.

In a statement, the Federal Government says the cost of expanding and maintaining Sydney’s road and rail network is too much for any one government.

ATA CEO Stuart St Clair says the F3 to the M2 connection is a major missing link in Sydney’s road network.

"Pennant Hills Road is one of the biggest bottlenecks in the Sydney road network. This $150 million project would go a long way to easing the pressure on traffic travelling to and from the state’s north," he says.

St Clair says the F3 to M2 upgrade will improve traffic access to the west, south and east of Sydney from North Sydney and country NSW.

The manager of the ATA NSW branch, Jill Lewis, says widening the M5 will be a boost for the trucking industry.

The M5 is the main freight corridor between south west Sydney, Port Botany and Sydney Airport.

"This plan would enhance the safety of the road and ease congestion, which impacts heavily on Sydney’s economic productivity, especially around Port Botany," Lewis says.

"With trucks transporting 85 percent of all goods going into and out of Port Botany, improving roads between the port and the rest of Sydney is crucial to ensure the city remains competitive."

Lewis has also supported Gillard's promise to build the Parramatta to Epping Rail Link, saying it has the potential to ease congestion pressure by taking cars off the road.

"Once completed, this new rail link will make a massive difference to business owners in Sydney's north-west, enabling them to have access to reliable transport networks to help them grow their business," she says.

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