Government Decision on Inner Urban Freeways
From "Main Roads" Vol. 42 No. 3, March 1977
The following is taken from the Department of Main Roads publication 'Main Roads':
On 23rd February, 1977 the State Government announced its decision to abandon major portions of planned inner-urban freeways in Sydney. On that day, the Minister for Transport and Highways, Mr Peter Cox, MLA, issued a statement which is reproduced in full below. The statement began by announcing that...
Cabinet had adopted recommendations from its special sub-committee on freeways to abandon large sections of proposed work on Western, Warringah, Gore Hill, Eastern and Southern Freeways.
Mr Cox said the decision was directly in line with the Government's pre-election promise and subsequent policy that freeways should not be constructed in inner-city areas.
"While the Government recognises the importance of adequate roads in a balanced transport system, it is against the inner-urban freeway proposals which would devastate the aeas they pass through," he said.
Mr Cox said he and his colleagues, the Minister for Local Government, Mr Jensen, and the Minister for Planning and the Environment, Mr Landa, would work with local councils in rehabilitation and development of areas affected.
"We are not anti-freeway and, in fact, there is provision in current planning for major roadworks to fit in with our balanced transport concept."
Mr Cox said virtually all road construction works in the city area were met from Federal funds. "We are not getting enough money from the Federal Government. We really only have enough money to improve what we have and, in conformity with this policy, additional money has been made available to the Traffic Authority this year for traffic engineering works," he added.
"Much of the major construction works proposed for inner-urban freeways is now quite beyond financial feasibility. One of the significant factors is that currently available funds and the level of funds likely to be available in the foreseeable future will only provide for limited development and improvement of the existing road system."
Mr Cox said the freeway proposals now abandoned would have cost approximately $491 million on current prices and that sort of money was simply not available.
He said properties held by the Government in the path of planned freeways would be sold or made available for some other public amenity. These are conservatively estimated to be worth $20 million.
"There are necessary procedures under current legislation to be followed in re-zoning land for disposal. Nevertheless, even with urgent action on disposal, the flow of funds from sales will be limited in the early stages." Mr Cox said.
He said proceeds from the sale of any properties would be needed for major metropolitan roadworks in view of insufficient funds now available for roads. The money would be diverted to high-priority metropolitan roadworks.
"The Urban Transport Advisory Council is reviewing transport corridors to provide better perspective on the need for corridors and the priority of their development," Mr Cox said.
"U.R.T.A.C. is looking at least 20 years ahead and from this, the Government will be in a better position to gauge the need for these funds. Recommendations are expected shortly."
As a result of the elimination of the freeway proposals, other corridor reservations for the county roads would assume greater importance, Mr Cox said.
Mr Cox stressed that the fine details of the proposals had not yet been determined and come minor variations may be necessary due to engineering considerations.
He said the sub-committee met with U.R.T.A.C., the Commissioner for Main Roads, representatives of the NRMA and others to examine all aspects of determining the future of freeways in the Sydney area.
Mr Cox said the position regarding the North Western Freeway and the section of the Eastern Distributor in the Woolloomooloo-Darlinghurst area was still under consideration by the Cabinet sub-committee. It is hoped firm recommendations will be reached in the very near future on these freeways.
Authors Note: The F3 North Western Freeway and F7 Eastern Distributor proposals that were still under consideration at the time of writing this article were subsequently cancelled in August and October 1977 respectively.
Summary of Proposals
F4 - Western Freeway
F1 - Warringah Freeway
F2 - Gore Hill Freeway
F6 - Southern Freeway
F7 - Eastern Freeway