Thursday, 29 October 2020
NorthConnex will be open to motorists this Saturday, 31 October. It is a $3 billion mega project jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales governments, and it is going to be a game changer, reducing travel times by up to 15 minutes and allowing drivers to avoid 21 sets of traffic lights along Pennant Hills Road. Motorists will now be able to drive from Newcastle to Melbourne without a single set of traffic lights, not only improving travel for local residents on the Central Coast but also delivering state and national freight efficiencies to assist this vital sector of the economy.
The project has been built to the highest safety standards, utilising the latest technology to keep drivers safe while also reducing traffic noise and improving air quality. NorthConnex has supported more than 17,000 jobs during the construction phase. These jobs, and the injection of billions of dollars into the New South Wales economy, have been really important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Construction of this important project is now complete, and more than 50,000 tests and checks have been completed so far to ensure that the motorway is ready to open this Saturday.
This is one of the most significant and eagerly anticipated road infrastructure initiatives delivered in Australia. Not only has it provided thousands of jobs but it will change the way that thousands and thousands of commuters on the Central Coast travel to and from work each day. David, a local Central Coast resident who commutes to Sydney's CBD every day, said that the opening of NorthConnex will mean less time in the car and more time with his family and friends. He said that it will give him a chance to have breakfast with his wife before work or to take the dogs for a walk along the beach. This is just one example that shows how NorthConnex is more than just a transport link. It's about improving the quality of life of so many hardworking people across our region.
I know that the opening of the tunnel is also going to help remove up to 5,000 trucks a day from Pennant Hills Road, which is one of the most congested roads in New South Wales. I know that this will be a welcome change for many motorists. Elizabeth from Killcare, who frequently uses this motorway can't wait for the opening this Saturday. She said to me that she's going to feel safer driving to Sydney to see her family and friends. Elizabeth regularly travels to Sydney to visit her daughter and her grandchildren. She said that this will make the journey faster and more enjoyable.
I look forward to attending the opening of NorthConnex this Friday with my colleagues, from both the federal and state governments, and also hearing directly from local residents about how this project will improve their lives as well in terms of travel. While the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many have had to work from home over the past few months, as locals return to work they will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the commute will be made just that little bit easier from Saturday.