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By James Galvin
November 12, 2017
Sydney’s infrastructure and congestion has long been a source of frustration for residents within the almost five million-strong metropolis. Other than the need to go underground, there appears to be very few options to deal with this infuriating issue. Earlier this week, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced a $50 million-dollar commitment towards planning and development of the proposed F6 Motorway, aimed to relieve the pressure from Sydney’s struggling motorways.
The confirmed first stage of the F6 is an underground tunnel joining West Connex’s new M5 junction at Arncliffe in Sydney’s south to President Avenue in Kogarah. The 4km tunnel is expected to reduce traffic along the Princess Highway through suburbs such as Banksia, Arncliffe, and Rockdale.
Premier Berejiklian states: “Anyone who drives through this area knows how congested these roads are and how vital this link will be, which is why we are progressing with planning for Stage one of the F6 extension. We are a government that gets on with the job and in the coming days we will be starting community consultation on the initial concept design.
“This project has been spoken about for decades. We are now undertaking, from today, detailed air quality and water quality studies. At this point a final design for the tunnel has not been decided as we will take our time to listen to the community before coming back in mid-2018 with a detailed design and cost for the project.”
However, the full project has had some controversial repercussions, mostly stemming from a leaked Roads and Maritime Services environmental report. The report provided a detail list of the areas impacted from the planned F6, advising that 14 hectares of natural wetlands, bushlands and green space is set to be cleared. A cabinet leak, earlier this year, also exposed that over 60 hectares of Royal National Park land will also be cleared to make way for the new F6 motorway.
"These areas provide foraging and roosting habitat for a range of migratory and non-migratory shorebirds and small bush birds. Wetlands include Eve Street, Marsh Street and Landing Lights wetlands which in combination form part of the only remaining migratory wading bird habitat on the western side of Botany Bay," the report states.
Local environmental groups along with local sporting clubs and residents are openly fighting the project, believing the negatives outweigh the positives. Local Fisherman John Burgess was quoted by the ABC stating: "Botany Bay has been done over pretty much in the last twenty years, and surprisingly, it has recovered reasonably well. But there are some areas, such as seagrasses on the northern side, I don't think we'll ever see a recovery. I think we have to be very careful."
Full F6 construction is expected to result in a motorway or freeway from Sydney down to Wollongong. However, there is speculation suggesting the government may not decide to build that far, and focus on decongesting Sydney’s suburbs instead. Either way, the project will require a large amount of funding, preparation and clearing, upsetting numerous residents in the surrounding areas.
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