EIS/MDP chapters general and overview
Sydney Gateway links Sydney Airport’s International and Domestic terminals with the Sydney motorway network at St Peter’s Interchange. New roads, bridges, and a flyover will be built in Mascot, Tempe and St Peters to improve journey times and reduce congestion around Sydney Airport and towards Port Botany.
Sydney Gateway features:
- New toll-free connections from St Peters Interchange to the Domestic and International terminals
- Widening of Qantas Drive
- A new flyover connecting the upgraded Qantas Drive to the Domestic terminals
- New bridges over Alexandra Canal, the Botany Rail Line and Canal Road
- A 1.3km shared pedestrian and cycle pathway along Alexandra Canal
- New dedicated roads for Sydney Airport freight transport.
Location and setting
Sydney Gateway extends from St Peters Interchange to Tempe and Mascot, crossing the Alexandra Canal towards Sydney Airport. The project area includes transport infrastructure such as the International terminal (T1) and Domestic terminals (T2 and T3). The impacted roads include Qantas Drive, Airport Drive, Robey Street and Sir Reginald Ansett Drive.
Statutory context and approval requirements
Sydney Gateway passes through Sydney Airport land, owned by the Commonwealth, and land under the jurisdiction of NSW. As a result, it is subject to two planning processes under NSW and Commonwealth legislation. It requires preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under the NSW process and a Major Development Plan (MDP) for Commonwealth. The EIS is on display from 20 November to 19 December 2019 and the preliminary draft MDP is on exhibition from 20 November 2019 to 21 February 2020.
We have consulted with a large number of local community members, the wider public, industry, local councils, and airport businesses to collect your feedback on Sydney Gateway and help answer your questions. Click inside to see what issues have been raised during our engagement and what steps are being taken.
Strategic context and project need
Sydney Airport and Port Botany are two of Australia’s most important infrastructure assets, providing essential domestic and international connections for people and goods. Efficient access to Sydney Airport and towards Port Botany is critical to the economic growth and prosperity of Sydney.
Sydney Airport and Port Botany generate over $10 billion of economic activity and handle around $100 billion of freight each year.
Over the next 20 years, air travel, air freight, container freight and general traffic around the Sydney Airport precinct is expected to grow significantly. This will put more pressure on roads and other infrastructure and impact local communities.
Many of the roads around Sydney Airport are currently at capacity and investment in major infrastructure is required to keep Sydney moving and growing. Sydney Gateway will provide a new route from the Sydney motorway network to the ports and help ease congestion on our busy local roads.
Project alternatives and options
Sydney Gateway considered alternative options to ensure the preferred option meets the objectives of the project and Sydney Airport Master Plan 2039. Six potential strategic alternatives were considered, including improvements to public transport, the road network and rail freight, which alone were not a feasible alternative to the project.
Six surface corridor options were considered, including a tunnel. Four potential alignment options were identified within the preferred corridor.
The preferred road alignment minimises environmental and land impacts, optimises safety and connections to the airport terminals as well as traffic movements.
Sydney Gateway’s preferred alignment also helps improve liveability in Mascot town centre.
Sydney Gateway will link the Sydney motorway network at St Peters Interchange to Sydney Airport’s International and Domestic terminals and towards Port Botany. The project will provide:
- New road connections from St Peters Interchange to the International and
Domestic terminals including:
- Widening and upgrading Qantas Drive
- A new elevated road or flyover connecting the Domestic terminals with the upgraded Qantas Drive
- New bridges over Canal Road, Alexandra Canal and the Botany Rail Line
- Around 1.3 kilometres of new and upgraded shared path for pedestrians and cyclists along the northern side of Alexandra Canal
- New dedicated roads for Sydney Airport freight vehicles.
Several intersections at Link Road/Airport Drive, Lancastrian Road/Qantas Drive, and Robey Street/Seventh Street and others will also be upgraded when the project is built.
While we are building Sydney Gateway, we plan to have five construction sites at St Peters Interchange, Tempe Lands, Northern Lands, Qantas Drive and Ninth Street.
We plan to start building in late 2020, subject to planning approval, and it would take around 3.5 years to complete the project.
The main building work includes construction of several bridges over the Alexandra Canal, Canal Road and Botany Rail Line and a new flyover to the Domestic terminals. Qantas Drive will also be widened and utilities in the project area will be relocated as required.
Around 69 hectares of land will be required for construction, of which around 33 hectares is temporary. We have placed our temporary construction sites in areas where we can rehabilitate including around seven hectares of Commonwealth-owned land, 12 hectares of state-owned and council land, and around four hectares of privately owned commercial land.
We will be providing onsite parking for our workers at our construction sites.
A Construction Environmental Management Plan will be prepared once a construction contractor has been appointed to manage and help mitigate the construction impacts.
Traffic, transport and access
Our assessments considered traffic on local roads, parking, public transport, pedestrians and cyclists with a focus on the operation of the road network and freight movements.
When we are open to traffic, the project will provide capacity across the road network for an estimated 60,000 additional vehicle trips per day in 2036.
Sydney Gateway will increase capacity on the roads and improve connections to Sydney Airport, the M5 and towards Port Botany. It will ease congestion through Mascot and provide faster, more reliable and safer journeys.
A Construction Traffic and Access Management Plan will be prepared and implemented before we begin to build. Construction staging will also occur on key parts of the network such as Qantas Drive, Airport Drive and access to Sydney Airport terminals to allow these roads to function during construction.
Noise and vibration
We understand our project may create traffic and construction noise disruption in some areas.
While we are building we will be working at night during scheduled track work weekends across the Botany Rail Line and also during Sydney Airport’s curfew hours when using tall machinery and equipment (such as cranes). This will enable us to build our bridges to meet strict Sydney Airport air safety conditions and rail safety conditions.
We will notify you before any night work begins and do everything we can to minimise impacts such as phasing our night work in different areas where possible and turning off equipment when not in use.
A Construction Noise and Vibration Management Plan will be prepared which will define measures to help minimise the impacts of our work.
Sydney Gateway will be built around the airport precinct, so in certain areas we will need to carry out night work. This is required to meet strict air safety requirements, keep motorists, cyclists and pedestrians safe, and retain access to the airport during peak travel times.
We are working closely with Sydney Airport to ensure airport operations continue to run safely and efficiently while we are building Sydney Gateway.
The potential impacts of lighting and headlight glare, windshear and turbulence and other airport operational issues were assessed.
To reduce potential impacts, we will protect the airspace around Sydney Airport, by only using tall machinery like cranes at night during Sydney Airport’s curfew between 11pm and 6am. The project has been designed to avoid any aviation hazards and minimise any headlight glare and pilot distraction.
We assessed how dust, exhaust emissions and odour such as those from the former Tempe landfill, have the potential to affect air quality during construction and when we are open to traffic.
We will implement best practice measures such as installing barriers and fencing, water spraying and mulching to minimise generation of dust, and using sweep equipment to clean debris.
A Construction Air Quality Management Plan will be implemented while we are building Sydney Gateway to minimise air quality, odour and landfill gas impacts to the community.
Contamination and soils
We assessed contamination, waste and spoil management at the former Tempe landfill, Alexandra Canal, Qantas Drive, Sydney Airport’s northern car park and land north of the rail corridor.
We are working with environmental experts, Inner West Council and our construction advisors to manage contamination and minimise the volume of waste and spoil generated by the project.
We will need to excavate to a depth of around two to three metres of spoil material from the former Tempe landfill. Any contaminated material disturbed during excavation will be managed in accordance with the EPA’s Environment Guidelines: Solid Waste Landfills 2016.
The former landfill will be re-capped in areas where it has been disturbed to reduce the potential for odour to be released.
A new gas collection and venting system will also be installed below sections of the new landfill capping layer to allow landfill gas to be collected and filtered.
Our research assessed the water features in the Sydney Gateway area and the potential for flooding. We examined how construction and operation might affect this and what we could to reduce and manage these impacts.
We found our work is likely to have a minor impact on flood levels in the Sydney Airport and St Peters interchange connection area, with levels increasing by up to 50 millimetres above existing levels. Negligible to minor impacts may occur in other areas.
Our assessment indicated that once Sydney Gateway is open, it will have only a minor impact on flood behaviour.
To reduce impact at all stages, we will carry out further flood investigations and implement measures during detailed design and construction.
Our assessment looked at the existing groundwater environment. We identified the potential impacts construction work may cause and set out steps we will take to minimise and manage these.
Our construction work will be carefully planned and carried out to minimise any impact on groundwater. We’ll do this by avoiding interactions with groundwater wherever possible and by minimising any flow of groundwater into excavations.
Excavations during construction are likely to reach groundwater which will be appropriately managed.
Our assessments looked at surface water features and water quality in the Sydney Gateway area. This allowed us to identify any potential impacts from construction and operation of the road and plan how to reduce them.
During construction, we will be building new and upgrading existing pipes and outlets to manage stormwater. We will be monitoring water quality during construction.
We will install stormwater treatment devices and grass drainage channels (swales) to treat stormwater runoff from the project before entering Alexandra Canal.
Once Sydney Gateway is open to traffic, there will be very little change in water quality in the canal.
We examined any potential impact the project might have on non-Aboriginal heritage and how we could reduce and manage it.
Once the project is open there will be visual changes to Alexandra Canal, due to new bridges being installed, and at Sydney Airport. To keep these impacts to a minimum, an Urban Design and Landscape Plan will form a key part of the overall project.
Heritage material would be impacted where drainage outlets could be constructed in the Alexandra canal wall, and where buildings are removed within Sydney Airport. A Heritage Management Plan will be prepared prior to construction, and will take into account relevant conservation and heritage management policies in the Alexandra Canal Conservation Management Plan and the Sydney Airport Heritage Management Plan.
Our evaluation examined potential impacts to existing Aboriginal heritage items and how we could best reduce and manage this. Our process involved consultation with the traditional owners of the land and looked into the presence of any below-ground Aboriginal heritage items that might be affected by the project.
There are no listed Aboriginal sites within the project site; however Alexandra Canal has been identified as having Aboriginal heritage values. Field surveys identified two areas with potential to contain Aboriginal archaeological deposits. To preserve these, we will carry out salvage excavation ahead of any construction work.
Our assessment showed that there will be no impacts to recorded Aboriginal sites or places during construction.
Land use and property
Our property and land use assessment identifies the potential impact of the project on properties and open space.
We have placed our temporary construction sites in areas we can rehabilitate including around seven hectares of Commonwealth-owned land, 12 hectares of state-owned and council land, and around four hectares of privately owned land.
We recognise how important open space is to the community and we are consulting with the local community and Inner West Council to enhance open space in the area after construction. A new active transport link will keep the shared cycle and pedestrian pathway along Alexandra Canal open into the future.
We are managing the property acquisition process in accordance with legislative requirements and reforms.
When we are building Sydney Gateway we will create up to 3,000 indirect full time jobs per year through construction and generate about $5.3 billion for the NSW economy. We have designed the project to minimise property acquisition and no residential land will be acquired.
We are working closely with Transport for NSW’s Sydney Coordination Office, Sydney Airport Corporation, local councils, emergency services and bus operators to minimise traffic and transport impacts.
Once we are open to traffic, you will experience greater access and connectivity to Western and South-western Sydney and improved travel times.
Landscape character and visual amenity
We are looking at ways to improve the existing landscape and visual environment and how we can reduce the impact to local vegetation, environment and landscape during construction and operation.
We will prepare an Urban Design and Landscape Plan in consultation with the community and Inner West Council. The plan will include provision for new space for community recreation, riverbank walks, nature trails and pedestrian and cycle paths.
A tree management strategy will be developed including measures to offset the loss of trees and achieve a net increase in tree canopy.
Our study examined biodiversity, the potential impacts of the project and how we will keep these impacts to a minimum.
Sydney Gateway is mainly being built on land that has previously been cleared or paved and which has no significant biodiversity value. During construction, we will remove about 25 hectares of vegetation, which includes 0.9 hectares of native vegetation. Some of this includes potential foraging habitat for species such as the grey-headed flying-fox (threatened species) and the eastern bentwing-bat.
We will develop a detailed plan that minimises the need to remove or disturb native vegetation and fauna habitat.
Health, safety and hazards
Our study assessed how Sydney Gateway may affect health, safety and hazards.
We identified factors that may increase levels of stress and anxiety such as traffic changes, visual changes and loss of recreational space. We will work to minimise these factors and seek to identify anyone who may be susceptible to construction fatigue to take action to reduce this.
We will take steps to ensure there are no hazards or risks to public safety during and after construction. This will include storing and handling dangerous goods appropriately.
During construction, we will form an emergency response plan to manage emergency situations that threaten public or worker safety.
We understand the importance of safely managing and disposing of waste material and we will treat our waste in an environmentally-friendly manner.
Our main source of waste will be from earthworks as excavated material or ‘spoil’ during site establishment and construction of our road infrastructure and landscaping.
We will also be developing a Construction Waste Management Plan that will explain waste types and volumes, and the process for managing waste including spoil haulage and disposal.
Our assessments considered how the project will reach sustainability targets for climate change resilience, waste reduction, resource consumption, community liveability, heritage, and natural environment.
To minimise environmental impacts, we will re-use waste materials onsite where possible, reducing truck movements by taking less material off site and creating new landscape features.
A Sustainability Management Plan will be developed to ensure that sustainability considerations are implemented in all project phases.
Climate change and greenhouse gas
We have designed the project to minimise our environmental footprint. Our assessments considered how the project will reach sustainability targets for climate change resilience, waste reduction, resource consumption, community liveability, heritage and natural environment.
Our climate change and greenhouse gas assessments reveal that the project will have minimum impact on the urban heat island effect within the local area due to the road and airport paved areas.
Most of the project greenhouse gas emissions would come from the amount of concrete and steel required and the number of bridges and retaining walls proposed.
The Sustainability Management Plan will include measures and targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions during construction and operation of the project.
Approach to environmental management and mitigation
We examined the environmental impacts while we build Sydney Gateway and when it is open to traffic and we looked at how we could manage these impacts. All our work will be carried out in line with the project’s conditions of approval and Construction Environmental Management Plan which will include a traffic and access management plan, a noise and vibration management plan, an air quality management plan, and other sub-plans.
Other strategies and plans will be developed and implemented during construction such as the sustainability management plan, the tree management strategy and the urban design and landscaping plan.
A summary of the construction and operation environmental impact assessment and management measures that will be implemented are outlined in Chapter 27.
Project justification and conclusion
We have examined the environmental issues during the design development process and we have consulted early with stakeholders to identify potential impacts. We have designed the project to reduce many of these impacts and we will implement management plans to minimise these.
We have designed the project to minimise or avoid environmental impacts on the community.
Sydney Gateway meets project objectives when compared to all other alternatives considered and will deliver new road connections to Sydney Airport terminals and cater for around 88,000 vehicles per day in 2036. When we are open to traffic, the business and wider community will enjoy better journey times and improved movement of people and freight.
It will improve the liveability of Mascot town centre by reducing traffic congestion and heavy vehicle movements on local roads.
EIS/MDP appendices and technical working papers
Click here to access Appendices A to G which includes details of the EIS requirements, MDP requirements and consultation summary