WestConnex’s collision course into communities

Story by Patrick Overs 

The production of the $17 billion motorway through Sydney has done a lot more than create one big construction site of a city. 

As the motorway’s construction has become more potent, local communities and residents have been increasingly seriously affected.

The Inner West suburb of Haberfield is known for its early 20th Century architecture and history. Despite this, large parts of the suburb are affected by WestConnex developments, as homes have been demolished to make way for construction. 

Local resident Mr John Fletcher has lived in Haberfield for more than 20 years and has witnessed the effects of WestConnex on the suburb. “They closed Ramsey Street, which split the suburb in half for months. It made Haberfield particularly quiet, inconvenient, and really affected the local businesses.” 

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John Fletcher, of Haberfield … WestConnex will create, not solve, problems. Photo: Patrick Overs

Not only has construction affected daily life around Haberfield and surrounding suburbs, traffic has increased in this already already congested area of Sydney, Mr Fletcher said.

His comments follow recent reports calling on the State Government to be transparent in its plans for stage 3 of the motorway. The Inner West Council is concerned about the effect on local communities from the construction of the tunnel from Haberfield to St Peters.

Mr Andrew Chuter, co-convenor of a community group protesting WestConnex, agreed that as well as the imposition on communities, introducing more roads would not help Sydney’s ongoing traffic problems.

“Congestion will worsen all over Sydney because more roads induces more cars. A rapid shift to public and active transport is needed instead.”

Mr Chuter, from No WestConnex: Public Transport not Motorways, also said the congestion problem would not be confined to the inner west.
“We reject the simple notion that one can easily divide areas into those that are affected and not affected.”

Mr Fletcher agreed that WestConnex would not solve traffic problems. He can already see the results of construction on morning commuters.
“The Citywest link is already full in the morning; this will just make it so much worse,” he said “I can’t imagine what that is going to mean when the tunnels come.”

WestConnex was not available for comment.

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A familiar sight: Traffic backed up on the Citywest link. Photo: Justin McManus, Sydney Morning Herald

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Former homeowners take a last look at their Haberfield home before demolition. Photo: Sarah Keayes, Sydney Morning Herald.