WestCONnex gift to Beverly Hills – lower noise walls and traffic congestion

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment received more than 12,000 submissions from members of the the public and community organisations in response to the WestCONnex New M5 tollway proposal. 99.91% of these submissions objected to the project. The People’s M5 EIS team could only find one submission that supported the project.  Ten submissions  raised concerns rather than outright objecting to the New M5.

Hundreds of residents living in the Kingsgrove and Beverly Hills area were among those opposed to the project.

Many of these residents have been living near the old M5 for 15 years. They know from experience that living near a motorway is nothing like the glossy images produced by the WestCONnex graphics team. If the New M5 goes ahead, 0thers would live close to a new unfiltered ventilation stack and tunnel opening proposed at Kingsgrove; or near the Beverly Grove Park that is going to be carved up by WestCONnex, along with most of a critically endangered remnant of Cooks River Ironbark Forest.

There are many more residents living along Stoney Creek, Forest and Bexley Roads who don’t know yet that if the new tollway goes ahead the plan is for their environment to be more congested and more polluted. This is documented in AECOM’s New M5 EIS although most residents have not yet been informed of these impacts. ( We will come back to this in a later post.)

What most people don’t know is that WestCONnex has already been given approval by the NSW Baird government to begin widening the intersection at King Georges Road and the existing M5. This project, which is known as the King Georges Interchange Upgrade, is massively disrupting the lives of residents, some of whom have watched with dismay as vegetation and parks that slowly grew after the M5 sliced up their neighbourhood are torn down by WestCONnex.

The King Georges Interchange project doesn’t make the WestCONnex’s Stage 2 New M5 tunnel inevitable but what it does do is provide an excellent place to start if you want to understand some of the key arguments against the WestCONnex. It  also provides a strong warning against trusting promises by Sydney Motorway Corporation (WestCONnex) or the Department of Planning of future mitigation of the worst impacts of motorways.

NSW Premier Mike Baird recently told the Sydney Morning Herald that some “displacement” and “loss of green space” is an unfortunate consequence of building  ‘infrastructure” to cater for future growth …otherwise the city will come to a halt.”

The problem with Baird’s argument is that there is lots of evidence that the WestCONnex won’t solve traffic congestion. Yes, residents would suffer both during the construction and operation of WestCONnex, but no, traffic congestion will not be solved. In some suburbs it will be worse.

You will notice that Baird also made no mention of the consequences of increased air pollution and noise for those living near congested roads. Continue reading


Part 2 Chris Standen: New M5 EIS fails to meet requirements

(Ed: The New M5 is being assessed under State Significant provisions of the NSW Environment, Planning and Assessment Act. Under this law, the Department prepares  the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs). You can read a full copy of the SEARS here.

This is the second part of  Transport planning and modelling specialist Chris Standen’s  four part submission. In this part, Standen analyses the SEARS and finds the EIS does not meet a number of requirements. It’s worth noting that some local Councils and other experts agreed with Standen that the M4 EIS requirements were not met by the Westconnex EIS.  The failure to meet requirements should be a serious matter that if allowed to pass without examination undermines the entire assessment process. No decision has been made on the M4 East project yet.

( If you have missed the first part of his submission, read it here.)  

The submission has been presented by the People’s M5 EIS is a format that suits wordpress. The full submission will be uploaded later on the People’s M4 EIS. You can use this and other submissions on the People’s M5 EIS to develop your own response. 




The SEARS provide for  an analysis of feasible alternatives to the carrying out of the proposal and proposal justification, including:

  • an analysis of alternatives/options considered, having regard to the proposal objectives (including an assessment of the environmental costs and benefits of the proposal relative to alternatives and the consequences of not carrying out the proposal), and whether or not the proposal is in the public interest,
  • justification for the preferred proposal taking into consideration the objects of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979,
  • details of the alternative ventilation options considered during the tunnel design to meet the air quality criteria for the proposal,
  • details of the short-listed route and tunnel options from the tender process and the criteria that was considered in the selection of the preferred route and tunnel design, and staging of the proposal and the broader WestConnex scheme, and in particular access to Sydney Airport and Port Botany and improved freight efficiencies.

Standen’s finding: FAIL 

Comment: The EIS does not include cost-benefit analysis, modelling, or any other objective analysis of feasible alternatives. Only cursory descriptions are provided.

No alternative staging strategies are described or objectively assessed. Continue reading

Vol-1B Chapter-12 Noise-and-vibration

Previous chapter: Vol 1B Chapter 11 Human health

Vol 1B Chapter 12 Noise and vibration

hi-res pdf: New M5 EIS Vol 1B.pdf

Low-res pdf: New M5 EIS Vol 1B Chapter 12 Noise and vibration.pdf

Section Pages
12 Noise and vibration 12-1
12.1 Assessment methodology 12-2
12.2 Existing environment 12-27
12.3 Assessment criteria 12-29
12.4 Assessment of potential impacts 12-46
12.5 Environmental management measures 12-96

Appendix: Vol 2D App J Noise and Vibration

Next chapter: Vol 1B Chapter 13 Land use and property

Vol-2D App-J Noise-and-Vibration

Chapter: Vol 1B Chapter 12 Noise and vibration

Appendix Vol 2D App J Noise and Vibration

Hi-res pdf: New M5 EIS Vol 2D App J Noise and Vibration.pdf

Low-res pdfs:

Section Pages
1.0 Introduction 1
1.1 Overview of WestConnex 1
1.2 Project overview 2
1.3 Project location 7
1.4 Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements 7
1.5 Structure of this report 9
2.0 The project 11
2.1 Operation 11
2.2 Construction activities 16
2.2.1 Construction hours 23
3.0 Existing ambient noise environment 31
3.1 Overview 31
3.2 Existing noise environment 31
3.2.1 M5 East Motorway 31
3.2.2 Arncliffe 31
3.2.3 St Peters and surrounds 31
3.3 Noise sensitive receivers 31
3.3.1 M5 East Motorway 31
3.3.2 Arncliffe 33
3.3.3 St Peters and surrounds 33
3.4 Ambient noise monitoring 34
3.5 Unattended background noise monitoring results 36
3.6 Operational road noise monitoring results 37
4.0 Assessment criteria 39
4.1 Construction noise 39
4.1.1 Noise catchment areas 41
4.1.2 Non-residential criteria 44
4.1.3 Sleep disturbance (construction) 45
4.1.4 Construction road traffic noise 46
4.2 Construction vibration criteria 46
4.2.1 Structural damage 47
4.2.2 Human comfort 48
4.3 Ground-borne noise 49
4.4 Blasting 50
4.4.1 Blasting criteria 50
4.4.2 Recommended hours and frequency of blasting activities 52
4.5 Operational assessment criteria 52
4.5.1 Operational road traffic noise criteria 52
4.5.2 Guidance for the evaluation of feasible and reasonable noise mitigation 55
4.5.3 Maximum noise levels 55
4.5.4 Operational fixed facilities noise criteria 56
4.5.5 Resultant environmental noise criteria 58
5.0 Construction noise and vibration assessment 61
5.1 Construction noise modelling and prediction 78
5.1.1 Construction noise assessment – Standard hours works 78
5.1.2 Out of hours work activities 103
5.1.3 Sleep disturbance 125
5.2 Cumulative noise assessment 137
5.2.1 Cumulative impacts from the project 137
5.2.2 Cumulative impacts from other projects 137
5.3 Ground-borne LAeq noise levels 138
5.4 Construction road traffic noise 139
5.4.1 Peak Movements 140
5.4.2 Off-peak movements 143
5.5 Construction vibration 148
5.5.1 Surface works 148
5.5.2 Tunnel works 149
5.5.3 Blasting 149
6.0 Operational noise assessment 151
6.1 Road traffic noise assessment 151
6.1.1 Road traffic noise modelling methodology 151
6.1.2 Study areas 153
6.1.3 Existing road traffic noise model 153
6.1.4 Noise modelling scenarios 154
6.1.5 Portal noise 155
6.1.6 Project impact 155
6.1.7 Noise modelling results – Western surface works study area (Year 2021 and Year 2031) 155
6.1.8 Noise sensitive receivers eligible for consideration of addition noise mitigation 156
6.1.9 Noise modelling results – St Peters interchange (Year 2021 and Year 2031) 156
6.1.10 Noise sensitive receivers eligible for consideration of additional noise 157
6.1.11 Parallel routes assessment 161
6.1.12 Maximum noise level assessment 162
6.2 Industrial noise assessment (fixed facilities) 164
6.2.1 Normal traffic conditions 166
6.2.2 Low speed traffic conditions 169
6.2.3 Emergency operating conditions 170
6.2.4 Assessment 171
7.0 Construction noise and vibration mitigation 179
7.1 Construction noise and vibration 179
7.1.1 Construction noise and vibration management plan 179
7.1.2 Community consultation and complaints handling 179
7.1.3 Work practices 180
7.1.4 Construction hours and work scheduling 180
7.1.5 Respite 180
7.2 Construction noise 180
7.2.1 Construction traffic 180
7.2.2 Construction compound sites 181
7.2.3 Plant and equipment selection and location 181
7.2.4 Noise barriers 181
7.2.5 Noise monitoring 182
7.3 Construction vibration 182
8.0 Operational noise mitigation 183
8.1 Western surface works 183
8.1.1 Additional architectural treatment 183
8.1.2 Existing noise barriers 184
8.2 St Peters interchange 184
8.2.1 Additional architectural treatment 185
8.3 Operational noise monitoring 189
9.0 Noise and vibration impact summaries 191
9.1 Construction noise and vibration and fixed facilities impact summaries 191
9.2 Operational impact summaries 223
9.2.1 Western surface works 223
9.2.2 St Peters interchange 223
9.2.3 Parallel routes 224
10.0 Conclusion 225
Appendix A Acoustic glossary A
Appendix B Construction and operational layouts B
Appendix C Noise catchment areas C
Appendix D Noise logger results D
Appendix E Traffic figures E
Appendix F St Peters interchange study area F
Appendix G Construction airborne noise LAeq maps G
Appendix H Construction airborne noise – other sensitive receivers results tables H
Appendix I Construction airborne noise LA1 maps I
Appendix J Construction ground-borne noise LAeq maps J
Appendix K Construction vibration maps K
Appendix L Operational noise results – road traffic maps L
Appendix M Operational noise results-road traffic tables M
Appendix N Western surface works – noise walls N
Appendix O Operational noise results-fixed facility maps O