Project Spotlight: M12 Motorway

M12

CPB, Georgiou, M12, M12 Motorway, NSW, Seymour Whyte, Western Sydney Airport,

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The $2.04b M12 Motorway is a major road infrastructure project in New South Wales that will provide direct access to the Western Sydney International Airport and Sydney’s motorway network.

The $2.04 billion M12 Motorway is a major infrastructure development project in New South Wales. It aims to provide direct access to the Western Sydney International Airport (Nancy-Bird Walton) at Badgerys Creek and connect to Sydney’s motorway network.

The project involves the construction of a 16km motorway, featuring two lanes in each direction with the capacity for future widening to three lanes. It will run east-west, starting from the M7 motorway at Cecil Hills to The Northern Road at Luddenham, NSW.

The M12 Motorway project is a crucial component of the ten-year Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan (WSIP) road investment program. With a total investment of $4.4 billion, the WSIP aims to upgrade transportation networks and accommodate the growing population in New South Wales.

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M12 Motorway scope of works

As the M12 Motorway will serve as the main route to the Western Sydney International Airport, the project has a significant scope of work.

The scope of work includes:

  • A 16km motorway between the M7 at Cecil Hills and The Northern Road at Luddenham, NSW
  • A Motorway built for four lanes with a central median to separate opposing traffic flows
  • Direct connection to Western Sydney International Airport
  • Connections to Elizabeth Drive near the M7/M12 interchange, and near the Western Sydney Airport entrance
  • New connections to The Northern Road with traffic lights
  • New bridges across the surrounding areas 
  • Pedestrian and cycling links, control care facilities, and works on access roads

The M12 Motorway project is divided into three packages, each focusing on a specific area and addressing different aspects of the overall development.

The three packages include:

  • Package One – Western section
  • Package Two – Central section
  • Package Three – Eastern section

M12 Motorway: Package One – Western section

The $494 million Western package of the M12 Motorway project is 6km long and runs from The Northern Road at Luddenham to approximately 250m east of Badgerys Creek. It features a grade-separated interchange with the Airport Access Road connecting to the M12 Motorway and Western Sydney International Airport.

The Western section of the M12 Motorway project in New South Wales has been awarded to the CPB Contractors Georgiou Joint Venture. The project will support 250 engineering and construction-related jobs as peak construction commences.

M12 hits construction milestone

Innovative new designs released for Sydney’s M12 Motorway

Design and Features

A dual carriageway with a narrow median and safety barriers will be provided to link with the future Western Sydney Orbital (OSO) project. It will be built north of the M12 Motorway alignment, where the carriageway will run along the entire length. Emergency stopping bays and emergency crossovers will also be built at regular intervals.

Construction works are currently underway to realign and duplicate 1500m of Elizabeth Drive with a new bridge over the Metro Rail corridor and Airport Access Road. Also, a four-way signalised intersection east and west of Airport Access Road will be provided for the WSIA and property access.

The M12 Western package includes several other design features, such as a 1.5km Airport Access Road, numerous bridges to ensure safe passage over waterways, pedestrian and cyclist paths, and a connection to the signalised intersection at The Great Northern Road.

The Western section of the M12 Motorway project is expected to open to traffic in 2025.

M12 Motorway: Package Two – Central section

The procuring agency, Transport for New South Wales awarded Seymour Whyte a $400m contract for the Central section construction of the M12 Motorway in May 2022.

Construction will begin 250m east of Badgerys Creek to the Water Tower Access Road within Western Sydney Parklands near Duff Road.

Design and Features

WSP was selected to provide detailed design services such as drainage design and flooding assessment, utility relocation and adjustment design, lighting design, pavement design environmental management, digital engineering, geotechnical and contamination site investigations, and Intelligent Transport System (ITS) designs.

This portion of the motorway will feature a dual carriageway with a wide median, allowing for future expansion to six lanes. Additionally, safety barriers will be installed along the motorway’s entire length, and emergency stopping bays and crossovers will be constructed at regular intervals.

A total of 11 bridges will be built, including:

  • Twin bridges over South Creek
  • A bridge over the M12 Motorway at Clifton Avenue
  • Twin bridges over Elizabeth Drive
  • Twin bridges over Range Road
  • A private property access bridge at the University of Sydney
  • Twin bridges over Kemps Creek
  • A bridge over the M12 Motorway for the Water Tower Access Road

M12 hits construction milestone

Other scope of work for the central package includes building a shared user path alongside the motorway to connect users to the M7 and retaining walls near Range Road to minimise the impact of the motorway on the surrounding areas.

The overall construction for the Central section will increase road capacity, improve travel times, freight movement, and reduce congestion throughout Western Sydney. Construction commenced in August 2022 and is expected to finish in late 2025 before the Western International Sydney Airport opens.

M12 Motorway: Package Three – Eastern section

The Eastern section of the motorway project will extend from Duff Road and Cecil Park to the M7 Motorway. This package is split into two sections of work, including Elizabeth Drive Connections and the Westlink M7 Interchange.

The Eastern section of the M12 Motorway has yet to be awarded. However, the Eastern section will be a design and construction contract.

Design and Features

Elizabeth Drive Connections

Construction for Elizabeth Drive Connections will involve upgrading a 2km section of Elizabeth Drive from Dug Road to the east of the M7 Motorway.

It includes components such as realigning Wallgrove Road through properties to the existing Elizabeth intersection, realigning Cecil Road to connect to the new Wallgrove Road, and upgrading Elizabeth Drive from two to three lanes in both directions. The package will also require relocation of utility services such as electricity, water, and telecommunications.

M12/M7 Interchange

An unsolicited bid to the New South Wales Government was submitted to suggest the M7/M12 Interchange delivery as part of the plan to expand the M7 motorway. The NSW Government is still evaluating the proposal and exploring how it can influence the development of the M12 Motorway.

Despite this, the urgency to establish a link between the M7 motorway and the Western Harbour Tunnel (WHT) before its scheduled opening in 2026 remains a top priority.

Plans to future-proof M7 and M12 motorways approved

The overall M12 Motorway project is expected to be open to traffic in late 2025 before the Western Sydney International Airport opens in 2026.

 © State of New South Wales (Transport for NSW) – Kemps Creek bridge girder installation

What are the benefits of the M12 Motorway?

The M12 Motorway project is expected to bring numerous benefits to the surrounding communities of New South Wales. This includes improved transport connectivity to the Western Sydney International Airport and residential areas, enhanced safety, and quality of life for nearby residents. Also, it will improve freight movement and provide economic stimulus through civil engineering and construction job and investment opportunities.

The New South Wales Government has engaged with local residents and businesses throughout the project’s planning and delivery phase to help meet these expectations.

Sustainability strategies implemented in the M12 Motorway project

Transport for New South Wales compiled an ‘Environment Sustainability Strategy for 2019-2023’ that outlined focus areas with the delivery of the motorway project. Focus areas involved resource use and waste management, energy and carbon management, sustainable procurement, climate change resilience, and biodiversity. 

The project team for the Western and Central section have used recycled concrete asphalt and aggregate to reduce the amount of waste generated during construction. A comprehensive recycling program was also implemented to minimise waste generation.

During the planning phase, the design of roads was carefully planned to minimize the need for earthworks and embankments. This helped reduce the carbon footprint and protect natural habitats in the surrounding areas of the M12 Motorway project.

Seymour Whyte, the contractor for the Eastern section of the M12 Motorway, is targeting an ‘Excellent’ infrastructure sustainability rating with the Infrastructure Sustainability Council (ISC). They aim to reuse and recycle 95% of the excavated materials, use approximately 40% of recycled aggregates for the sub-base layers and minimise water use on site. 

A sustainable drainage system has also been implemented to reduce the burden on local water treatment plants.

Overall, the M12 Motorway project is a significant investment in New South Wales and will provide economic stimulus across Australia. The project will enhance connectivity to the Western Sydney International Airport (WSIA) when it opens in 2026. Once the M12 Motorway construction is complete in late 2025, it will provide safer, more efficient transportation solutions for residents, communities, businesses, and international visitors.

Source: © Infrastructure Partnerships Australia 2023

Source: © NSW Government 2023

Image Source: © Transport for NSW 2023

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