Western Sydney, as well as areas north and south of Sydney, will need to accommodate large travel demand increases due to significant population and employment growth.
By 2031, an additional 140,000 people are expected to live in the Illawarra and Central Coast regions, and an additional 1 million people in Western Sydney. The broader Western Sydney Employment Area is expected to accommodate 378,000 new jobs in the long term.
Traffic modelling undertaken as part of the 2015 Australian Infrastructure Audit indicates that in 2031 parts of the existing outer Sydney road network will be at or above capacity, which is expected to result in congestion and long travel times.
In the absence of long-term planning and corridor protection, future infrastructure provision would be complex and costly.
Modelling by Infrastructure Australia in 2017 estimates the net cost of protecting and acquiring the corridor between Richmond and east of Picton as $0.3 billion (2016 prices) using a 7% real discount rate.
In March 2018, the New South Wales Government publicly exhibited a planning study to identify and ultimately preserve a preferred alignment for a multi-modal transport corridor in Western Sydney, comprising a motorway, a north–south freight rail line, and, where practical, integrating a north–south passenger rail line.
The New South Wales Government has confirmed the preservation of the Castlereagh corridor (originally reserved in 1951) to allow for future improvements to road connectivity and transport efficiency within Greater Sydney and to regional areas west of Sydney.
Proponent to identify initiatives and develop options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).