Where are they now?
As a measure to monitor congestion on major roads in NSW, the NRMA conducted and released the results of a study of 10,000 roads in the jurisdiction. More than 23,000 people in total were surveyed about their opinion on the state of NSW roads. The study was the largest study based around transportation in the history of the state.
If the NRMA has anything to say about it, the Rate Your Road survey will continue to be an election year mainstay for NSW elections. The first round seems to be a rousing success, if just to help pinpoint the transportation problems that need to be prioritised in NSW.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the M5 Motorway received the highest number of votes of any surveyed location as the number one most congested road in NSW.
However, this was not the only metric that the survey attempted to analyse. Participants were also given the opportunity to rate roads on a scale of 0 to 100 based around safety and overall condition as well. Survey participants were also asked to rate local public transport services.
1. M5 at Moorebank (510 votes)
The M5 at Moorebank received the highest number of votes as the most congested road in all of NSW. The results prompted a response from NSW Executive Director Sydney John Hardwick, who stated that the NSW Government is investigating ways to upgrade the road to safely help motorists enter and exit the motorway.
According to Mr Hardwick, the major point of congestion is occurring through Moorebank towards Liverpool between Moorebank Avenue and Hume Highway. The highest amount of congestion occurs during the afternoon peak because of traffic that is trying to move two ways (entering and exiting) at the same time through a stretch of road that is too short to accommodate the proceedings.
Fortunately, solutions are on the horizon. NSW transport officials have identified a design that would ease congestion and make the surrounding road network more efficient. To create this newfound efficiency, the state would take on a project to build a new two-lane bridge across the Georges River and railway lines. The new structure would give motorists better access to the Hume Highway exit.
Ancillary projects would include changes to the current Moorebank Avenue westbound entry and exit ramps. The purpose of the project would be to improve efficiency at the interchange. The Moorebank Avenue underpass would expand to connect with the new bridge, which would take away the key deadlock point for that section of the M5 Motorway.
2. Epping Road at Ryde (474 votes)
As the second most congested road in all of NSW, Epping Road is in desperate need of some new traffic lights. Victor Dominello stated that the congestion-busting traffic lights will use the latest smart technology to lessen peak hour gridlocks.
He also announced the widening of the Victoria Road in West Ryde: “Victoria Road will also be widened to a consistent three lanes in each direction between West Parade and Hermitage Road.”
Residents’ feedback included a request for more walking and cycling paths and on-road bicycle lanes.
The revamp project is the state government’s initiative to improve arterial roads in growth areas, with a budget of $2.2 billion.
3. Pacific Highway at Coffs Harbour (439 votes)
Coming in a close third after Epping Road at Ryde was the Pacific Highway at Coffs Harbour. Apart from traffic congestion, poor road surfaces and few lanes have become sources of frustration amongst drivers and commuters.
To address this problem, the Australian and NSW governments are considering a joint-effort 14-kilometre Coffs Harbour bypass project.
According to officials, not only would such a project help to improve transport efficiency and safety, but it will also boost the regional economy.
4. Parramatta Road at Ashfield (421 votes)
New M4 tunnels have been built on Parramatta Road between Homebush and Haberfield. This improvement has slashed almost half an hour off of a trip from Parramatta to the Sydney CBD.
Drivers are able to completely bypass Parramatta Road, which is known for its congestion. The 5.5-kilometre twin tunnels cut up to 20 minutes off a trip from Parramatta to the Sydney CBD.
The tunnels have a toll fee of up to $7.89 per trip.
5. Pennant Hills Road at Ku-Ring-Gai (395 votes)
Although Pennant Hills Road at Ku-Ring-Gai is number 5 on the list, it may have the highest number of sponsors who are ready to make improvements. Pennant Hills already has the NSW and federal governments in talks with Transurban and the M7 Westlink Shareholders, who are currently serving as the project sponsors.
Between them, these entities are set to build, operate, and maintain a tolled motorway called NorthConnex. NorthConnex will link the Hills M2 Motorway at West Pennant Hills to the M1 Pacific Motorway at Wahroonga.
There may be more ideas for this road because of the built-in nine-kilometre tunnel motorway that includes interchanges to the north and south. These features already accommodate connections well at either end of the project.
When the entire project is complete, it will form part of the National Highway route by linking the Orbital network to Sydney’s north. Once the improvements become a part of the wider Sydney road network, NorthConnex will give motorists a direct connection from the north, west, and south. This will bolster the economy between Sydney and the NSW as well as free up residential traffic.
The NSW Government’s State Infrastructure Strategy and NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan recognise the importance of the link between the M1 and M2 for freight traffic. The link also holds major implications about the wider connectivity within NSW and the ability improve the flow of traffic and reduce congestion along the whole of Pennant Hills Road.
The Importance of Infrastructure Maintenance
According to Robert Antoun, Managing Director at Antoun, “Maintenance is the new infrastructure.” Stakeholders in roads must invest in the upkeep of those roads in order to avoid future road issues. There is no way around it.
Infrastructure maintenance is a great investment — it sustains the life of major assets and promotes the economic and human capital development. Whilst it comes at a cost, compared to the cost linked with inadequate maintenance, economical impact, and risk of accidents, maintenance is well worth the cost.
Maintaining the country’s infrastructures must not be viewed of secondary importance — it is as important, if not more important, as building new infrastructure.
If the economy around NSW is expected to keep growing, there is a huge responsibility borne by the people who would see (and profit from) that economy moving from border to border.
Making an official note of the most congested roads in NSW is the first step to clearing the way for the future economy. Maintaining those roads once they have been improved is just as important. As a major player in Australian transportation, we at Antoun encourage all investors and motorists to do their part in making Australian roads a better place to drive and do business.
For more timely and relevant information about everything transportation, sign up to the Antoun newsletter.