The Wakehurst Parkway will receive a $150m upgrade with a funding commitment in this week’s federal budget.
Federal Member for Mackellar Jason Falinski (image below) revealed $75m will be allocated in the federal budget tomorrow night (Tuesday, 29 March), to be co-funded with $75m from the NSW Government.
“Unlike other announcements, this isn’t a promise or another study, it is money in the bank. Investing in infrastructure upgrades ensures we are planning for a better future, giving locals the roads and services they need and deserve. These funding commitments will create jobs, boost business investment and drive our economic recovery,” announced Mr Falinski.
It is understood the money will be used to widen the Wakehurst Parkway to two lanes each way between Dreadnought Road, Oxford Falls, to several hundred metres south of Aquatic Drive, Frenchs Forest. It will also include a new pedestrian and cycle bridge, connecting Aquatic Drive, Frenchs Forest and Fitzpatrick Avenue East, plus new fauna rope crossings.
According to Mr Falinski, the new funding for Wakehurst Parkway is designed to improve congestion and safety between Oxford Falls and Frenchs Forest, but does not address the area subject to flooding, which has already been funded and awaiting action from Northern Beaches Council.
“There’s already a flood mitigation project in the hands of [Northern Beaches] Council, we expect them to get on with it as quickly as possible,” said Mr Falinski.
Pittwater MP and Minister for Infrastructure Rob Stokes said he was very pleased with a commitment of funding from the federal budget.
“I was delighted to learn of the announcement that will occur in the federal budget. We will work with the Commonwealth Government to understand more about the project they are funding, to deliver the best outcome together.
“This is a good example of what happens when all levels of government work together, we can achieve great things. It’s also due to the ongoing advocacy for improvements to Wakehurst Parkway by the Member for Mackellar, Jason Falinski,” said Minister Stokes.
Minister Stokes played down speculation about why funding was directed toward Wakehurst Parkway rather than the Beaches Link Tunnel project.
According to Minister Stokes, the Beaches Link Tunnel remains a committed part of an infrastructure backlog across the state, but scheduling of projects needs to be carefully managed to ensure best use of taxpayer money. This throws into doubt predictions the tunnel could be open by 2028.
“There is in excess of $50b worth of commitments to projects that have not commenced. The market does not have capacity to deliver all the work we have planned. Scheduling the work is necessary so we do not bid against ourselves and escalate costs.
“We have committed to the project but we also need to look at whether we deliver now or when the market cools down. Pushing the price up and giving away taxpayer money is not prudent,” explained Minister Stokes.
Mr Falinski said the $75m Commonwealth budget allocation was being made from a $110b Infrastructure Investment Program and they hoped for construction to commence in early 2023 with completion in 2025.
“This $75m investment from the Australian Government through the 2022-23 Budget builds on the substantial investment our government has already made in Mackellar, like the upgrades to our road blackspots, cell towers, schools, surf lifesaving, sports clubs and community groups,” said Mr Falinski.
Images: Northern Beaches Advocate, Jason Falinski MP, Transport for NSW