Wednesday, 22 March 2023 10:24

Western Sydney urges Premier, Roads Minister to step on the gas Featured

Motorway in Western Sydney Motorway in Western Sydney WSROC

The peak body representing councils in Greater Western Sydney has challenged the logic behind NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s election promise to raise the speed limit on the WestConnex motorway and tunnel network from 80km to 90km per hour — urging instead a limit of 100km per hour.

Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) is calling for a radical re-think of how Sydney’s motorways are managed, suggesting a general increase to motorway speed limits and calling for a traffic study of the efficiency of ramp metered entry sites along the M4 dual carriageway.

Greater Western Sydney residents are heavily car-dependent with some 309,500 commuting outside the region for work, 65 per cent commuting by private vehicle.

According to an announcement by Premier Perrottet and Minister for Metropolitan Roads, Natalie Ward (20 March), increasing the WestConnex speed limit by just 10km per hour will reduce travel times, boost productivity, keep freight moving, and place downward pressure on supply chain costs.

“However, the absurdity is that in NSW, we build and pay for multi-lane motorways that are designed for speeds up to 110km per hour — and then impose a speed limit of only 80kph,” said WSROC CEO Charles Casuscelli (pictured).Charles Casuscelli small

“This is actually less than highways and arterial roads where traffic goes through highly urbanised areas and closer to pedestrians and other road users.”

“At considerable cost to taxpayers, the government installs variable speed limit signs but uses them like fixed speed limit signs.

“Variable speed limit signs should be adjusted to take advantage of optimal traffic and road conditions and allow traffic to move safely at the design speeds of our motorways, using them only to slow traffic when conditions require it.

WSROC is also calling for a review of the effectiveness of the existing ramp metering along the M4 motorway.

“There were good reasons why the ramp metering installation on the entry ramp eastbound at Roper Road, St Marys was never turned on - it sat idle for over 25 years! It simply did not work!” said Mr Casuscelli.

Ramp metering is a traffic management technique used to control the flow of traffic onto an expressway by regulating the rate at which vehicles can enter via traffic ramps.

“The effectiveness of ramp metering on motorways depends on a variety of factors, including the design of the system, the level of traffic congestion, and the behaviour of drivers,” said Mr Casuscelli.

“By regulating the number of vehicles entering the expressway, ramp metering can help prevent gridlock and reduce the frequency of accidents caused by sudden changes in speed or lane changes.

“However, ramp metering systems must be carefully designed and implemented to be effective.

“If the system is too restrictive, it can create excessive delays and frustrate drivers, leading to increased risk of accidents.

“We are hearing from motorists and residents that the current arrangements that allows only two vehicles at predetermined intervals to enter the M4, especially at peak shoulder periods, are causing excessive ‘tail back’ congestion on the feeder roads to the M4.

“Yet at the same time, at other entry points where ramp metering is not in effect, there are no delays for similar traffic volumes, either on the ramp or on the motorway itself.

“WSROC agrees with the Premier that increasing the speed limit in WestConnex would mean drivers spend less time on the road and more time doing the things most important to them — but a meagre 10km per hour adjustment to the WestConnex motorway speed limits won’t achieve that, it needs to be an increase to 100km per hour and be extended to those parts of the M4 that are 90km per hour.

“By slashing travel times on WestConnex and the M4 properly, we could achieve the government’s stated objective of injecting more than $80 million into the NSW economy every year through productivity gains.

“A general increase to speed limits on the WestConnex and M4 motorways to 100km per hour or better, and a local area traffic study around ramp metered entry sites along the M4 to assess the relative effectiveness of ramp metering are the necessary first steps to cutting travel times, congestion, and pollution.”

Last modified on Wednesday, 22 March 2023 10:51

Filter By