Plan to ease airport traffic congestion – Sydney Morning Herald

Nicole Hasham

   State Politics

An upmarket hotel, a transport interchange and new one-way roads have been proposed to tackle the traffic nightmares plaguing Sydney Airport.

NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay and Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather on Sunday confirmed the measures were being examined. They are designed to relieve chronic traffic congestion that has helped make the airport the most unpopular in the country.

Sydney Airport is under pressure to invest in infrastructure and improve the traveller experience, as the building of a rival airport at Badgerys Creek draws closer and passenger numbers surge.

Ms Mathers said a draft plan for congestion-busting work around the T2 and T3 domestic terminals would help about 150,000 people who travel to and from the airport each day. It includes a new transport interchange including a bus station and capacity for about 5500 vehicles to encourage greater use of public transport.

A proposed four- to five-star hotel with about 430 rooms would accommodate airline passengers. The work, previously proposed in the airport’s transport master plan, also involves a new one-way road system connecting Shiers Avenue to Qantas Drive and linking the two domestic terminals.

The five-lane road would boost capacity at intersections and create more ‘‘green light’’ time.

The draft plan is on exhibition until September 22. Construction is due to last three years.

The airport plans to double the number of passengers it handles each year by 2033. Work already approved around the international T1 terminal is due to start next month. Combined, the improvements will cost $300 million.

“These works will dramatically improve traffic flow around the airport, with our traffic models showing intersections clearing within most traffic light cycles and improvements in travel times,” Ms Mather said.

Mr Gay said the government was also spending $282 million on roads around the airport. This included $40 million in federal funding.

Some work is already under way. It will support the $13 billion WestConnex motorway, which will better link Western Sydney to the airport and Port Botany. A preferred design released on Sunday includes making Robey and O’Riordan streets one-way northbound and southbound. Marsh Street will also be widened. The work will link to road changes planned inside the airport.

“The NSW government is committed to working closely with Sydney Airport to improve the arrival and departure experience,’’ Mr Gay said.

Tourism and Transport Forum acting chief executive Trent Zimmerman welcomed the upgrades. But he called on the government to reduce the $16.40 train fare from the city to the domestic terminal and to provide extra bus services.

Federal Labor MP Anthony Albanese said NSW taxpayers were ‘‘paying to fix up the roads around Sydney Airport so that Sydney Airport can make more profits’’. He accused the airport of prioritising profit over service after a blackout on Friday left thousands of travellers grounded.

with Heath Aston