While welcoming the NSW Government’s commitment of funding in Tuesday’s state budget to commence construction of Stage 1 of the F6 Extension (SouthConnex) as an important first step, the Illawarra Business Chamber has said that Stages 2 and 3 will provide the greatest benefit to the Illawarra economy.
Today’s announcement by the Government will see public consultation commence on the first stage of the F6 Extension which will be followed by the completion of an Environmental Impact Statement, with tendering and procurement to occur next year.
Stage 1 of the F6 Extension will see twin 4 km tunnels connecting the new M5 (or WestConnex) between Arncliffe and Kogarah, while Stage 2 would see a 5 km section from President Avenue to Captain Cook Bridge. Stage 3 involves an 8 km connection onto Acacia Road/Loftus Avenue at Loftus (see: Figure 1).
However a road connectivity survey commissioned jointly by the Illawarra Business Chamber and the NRMA and undertaken by Veitch Lister Consulting, released last month, found that Stages 2 and 3 of the F6 Extension project (from Kogarah to Loftus) are needed to deliver the greatest benefit to vehicles travelling between Wollongong and the Sydney CBD.
Further, the report found that delivered alongside the South West Illawarra Rail Line (SWIRL), the first three stages of the F6 Extension would deliver more than $740 million in annual economic benefit.
The most significant road bottlenecks between Wollongong to Sydney CBD are the bridges crossing the Georges River. Captain Cook Bridge at Taren Point carries around 62,000 vehicles per day and Tom Ugly’s Bridge at Sylvania carries 92,700 vehicles per day. Stage 2 of the F6 is crucial, as it incorporates a new bridge over the George’s River.
“Delivery of Stage 1 of the F6 Extension will reduce congestion on the road network, but the full benefit of travel savings for people travelling between Wollongong and the Sydney CBD – estimated to be 27 minutes - will only be realised when Stages 2 and 3 are delivered,” said Adam Zarth, Executive Director of the Illawarra Business Chamber.
“The report we commissioned with the NRMA estimated the total economic benefits of the completion of Stages 1, 2 and 3 of the F6 Extension to be $677 million per year by 2031. The estimated benefit to the Illawarra economy alone is $67 million per year from 2031.”
Contact: Adam Zarth 0404 146 829
A copy of the Illawarra First/NRMA road study can be found by following this link: https://www.nswbusinesschamber.com.au/NSWBC/media/Regional/Illawarra/Illawarra-First-Road-Study-May-2018.pdf