Tunnel Safety

  • Dangerous goods vehicles are prohibited from travelling in Sydney’s tunnels.
  • Refer to the Roads and Maritime Services website for information about dangerous goods.
Sydney’s road tunnels are built to strict safety standards. Safety features installed on the M5 East to minimise the risk to motorists in the event of an incident include:
  • an emergency broadcasting system is transmitted through your vehicle’s AM and FM radio and loudspeakers
  • electronic message boards to deliver important safety messages
  • identified emergency exits
  • flashing lights to guide you to emergency exits
  • emergency phones to connect you with the M5 East Control Room
  • fire extinguishers and emergency phones located throughout the tunnels at least every 60 metres
  • deluge water sprays or sprinklers for use in a fire
  • emergency barriers at tunnel entry points to stop vehicles driving into a hazardous situation
  • continuous monitoring of the motorway via Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras by the M5 East Control Room
  • incident response crews.
Before you enter a tunnel there are a few things you should do:
  • close your windows
  • turn your air conditioning to recycle
  • turn on your radio
  • take your sunglasses off (unless optical prescription glasses)
  • switch on your head lights
  • check electronic message boards and signage
  • when travelling in the tunnel, keep a safe gap from the car in front of you and avoid changing lanes if possible
  • more information about safety in Sydney’s major road tunnels.

'Tunnel Ahead' sign

  • The M5 East main tunnel has a maximum height of 4.6 metres.
  • The Cooks River tunnel has a maximum height of 4.4 metres.
  • Do not enter the tunnel if you are driving an over-height vehicle.
  • Observe roadside signs for the alternative route provided.
  • Refer to the Roads and Maritime website for more information regarding load and height restrictions.
M5 East main and Cooks River tunnel height limits

Frequently asked questions

  • Stay in your vehicle unless otherwise advised by the M5 East Control Room.
  • Switch on your hazard lights.
  • Wait for help to arrive.
  • You will be monitored by cameras, and assistance will be sent to tow your vehicle.
  • If you need to call for help, use the emergency phones or call (02) 8577 3700.
  • The M5 East Control Room will contact emergency services if necessary.
  • Refer to What to do after a crash glovebox guide issued by the NSW Police.

Further information about air quality in and around the M5 East is available on the Roads and Maritime Services Outside Air Quality Monitoring page page.

  • Pull over to a breakdown bay or to the side of a lane, if possible.
  • Stay in your vehicle unless otherwise advised.
  • Switch on your hazard lights.
  • Wait for help to arrive.
  • You will be monitored by cameras, and assistance will be sent to tow your vehicle.
  • If you need to call for help, use the emergency phones or call (02) 8577 3700.
  • The M5 East Control Room will contact emergency services if necessary.
  • Do not enter the tunnel.
  • If possible, exit the tunnel.
  • If not possible, pull over to a breakdown bay or to the side of a lane.
  • Stay in your vehicle unless otherwise advised.
  • Switch on your hazard lights.
  • Wait for help to arrive.
  • You will be monitored by cameras, and assistance will be sent to tow your vehicle.
  • If you need to call for help, use the emergency phones or call (02) 8577 3700.
  • The M5 East Control Room will contact emergency services if necessary.
  • In the event of an accident refer to What to do after a crash glovebox guide issued by the NSW Police.
  • The NSW Police is the only authority that can request CCTV footage from the M5 East Motorway.
  • A Police Event Number is required to request the footage.
  • Footage can only be provided to the Police if the incident is recent as footage is not saved long-term.
  • Turn on your radio as emergency broadcasts may be transmitted through your radio.
  • If instructed, turn off your engine as idling for extended periods produces higher levels of atmospheric pollutants.
  • Cyclists are not permitted in the tunnel as it is not safe.
  • Cyclists are encouraged to use the shared path network.
  • Dangerous goods are substances that pose a heightened risk to people, property and/or the environment due to their chemical or physical properties.
  • Examples include loads that are flammable, toxic, infectious, radioactive, explosive or corrosive.
  • Vehicles transporting dangerous goods are not permitted to use tunnels in NSW.
  • By law, these vehicles are required to display a diamond-shaped placard to identify the specific dangerous goods being carried and must use detour routes as displayed on advance warning signs before tunnel entrances.
  • Further information is available from the NSW Environment Protection Authority website.
  • A sign-posted detour route, called the D5, is the recommended alternate route to use when the M5 East is closed.
  • Refer to the map of the D5 route.
  • There are 32 emergency cross passages located at 120 metre intervals in the main tunnel, and four cross passages within the Cooks River tunnel.
  • The cross passages allow motorists to cross to the other carriageway in the event of an emergency within the tunnel.
  • There are also emergency exits that lead to points outside of the motorway:
    • an emergency exit stairwell at the end of the Princes Highway off ramp to Arncliffe Street, Arncliffe
    • an emergency exit stairwell near Marsh Street substation, into M5 East Control Centre car park
    • emergency exit stairwells on both carriageways of the General Holmes Drive viaduct to Kyeemagh Avenue, Mascot.
  • These are emergency pedestrian exits only and should be used as directed by emergency personnel or by M5 East Control Centre staff.
  • Emergency exits are lit up in an emergency only, and are switched off at other times.
  • In the event of an emergency, emergency personnel or M5 East Control Centre staff will tell you what to do.
  • Please use the emergency phones during an emergency.
  • The emergency phones are located at regular intervals along the motorway and within the tunnels.
  • The phones will connect you directly to the M5 East Control Room.
  • The M5 East is closed for regular maintenance four nights each month.
  • Information on these closures is posted on this website and displayed on electronic message signs on and near the motorway prior to the closures.
  • Subscribe to receive email notifications for scheduled maintenance closures.
  • The motorway may be closed at short notice due to unplanned incidents such as major breakdowns or accidents.
  • Motorists are advised to pay attention to electronic message signs on major roads and other motorways that lead on to the M5 East.
  • Traffic conditions and incidents are reported on many commercial radio stations in Sydney and on Live Traffic NSW.
  • A sign-posted detour route, called the D5, is the recommended alternate route to use when the motorway is closed.

Your vehicle or combination is oversize or overmass if it exceeds:

  • 4.3 metres in height
  • 7.0 metres in width
  • 25 metres in length
  • 150 tonnes mass, or
  • when the driver is required to travel 10km/h over the centreline of a bridge.

If your vehicle or combination is any of the above you must contact the Motorway Control Centre on (02) 8577 3700 if you plan to travel on the M5 East.

This ensures oversize and/or overmass vehicles can travel through a tunnel or motorway safely and without any disruptions including peak hour traffic, motorway closures or road works.

  • Pedestrians are not permitted on the motorway, including the tunnel.
  • It is not safe for pedestrians to use the motorway as a means of passage.
  • Pedestrians should use the shared path network.
  • Slow and/or heavy vehicles should use the left lane unless exiting at Kingsgrove Road travelling west.
  • Tunnel messages often display "Slow vehicle use left lane."
  • There are speed cameras located inside the tunnel in both directions of travel.
  • The maximum speed limit is 80 kilometres per hour unless otherwise sign-posted.
  • The M5 East is a variable speed limit zone.
  • Speed limits can be altered for a variety of reasons at any given time. This includes incident response and maintenance activities.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you obey the sign-posted speed limits at all times.
  • Requests for information on speed limit reduction times and the reasons for speed limit reductions on the M5 East should be made to Roads and Maritime Services who own and operate the speed camera equipment.
  • If you want to view your infringement photographs, refer to the NSW Office of State Revenue.
  • Travel time information is available on the Sydney Orbital road network, including the M5 East.
  • The travel time system uses electronic message signs to display the estimated length of time it should take to reach upcoming motorway exits, based on the current traffic flow.
  • Travel time estimates are updated every three minutes to reflect the current travel conditions.

170401 VMS Travel Time

  • Emergency safety barriers at tunnel entry points will close to stop vehicles driving into a hazardous situation.
  • A deluge water system may be used by the M5 East Control Room to suppress the fire, providing emergency services with valuable time to attend the emergency.
  • The tunnel ventilation system will manage smoke to maintain a smoke free environment.
  • You may be advised to evacuate. Emergency exits are located every 120 metres and are clearly identified. Follow the exit signs and flashing lights to guide you to the nearest, safe exit.
  • Fire extinguishers are located every 60 metres and can be used if safe to do so.
  • Roads and Maritime Services is only responsible for damage to vehicles caused by the motorway structure, for example a light fitting that has come loose from the tunnel roof.
  • Contact the Roads and Maritime Liability Claims Services on 13 22 13 or via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Roads and Maritime is not responsible for loads or debris from other vehicles or motorway users. Please contact your motor vehicle insurance company in this instance.
  • Regular off-peak road sweeps are conducted to remove general road debris, and larger items are removed by M5 East Motorway Patrollers as soon as they are detected by the M5 East Control Room using camera surveillance.
  • The tunnels have equipment installed to ensure you can receive analog AM and FM radio stations.
  • A limited number of the more popular stations are rebroadcast.
  • There are no plans to change or increase the stations rebroadcast.

Privacy Policy

Privacy statement

This Privacy Statement applies to Ventia Pty Limited and its related bodies corporate (Ventia).

Ventia is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals. To deliver on this commitment to privacy, Ventia will comply with the legislation and regulations of the countries in which it operates.

Ventia is bound by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) as amended by the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 (Cth) (the Act), the 13 Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) contained within the Act and the New Zealand Privacy Act 1993 (the NZ Act) (collectively, the Acts). All employees, and officers of Ventia, and business partners that do business with Ventia, are required to comply with the Acts and this Privacy Statement.

Ventia has a Privacy Policy which can be obtained by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Information or opinions which are collected, held, used or disclosed by Ventia about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, will be protected by the standards outlined in this Privacy Statement.

To deliver its commitment to privacy, Ventia will:

  • be bound by, and comply with, the APPs under the Act in relation to personal information make available this Privacy Statement to all employees, officers and business partners to promote awareness of their requirement to comply with our privacy standards, and to anyone else who asks for it
  • ensure that lawful, fair and unobtrusive means are used to collect personal information that is necessary for its business purposes
  • collect sensitive information only with the individual’s consent and not disclose any personal information to an unrelated third party, except with the individual’s consent or where permitted to do so by law
  • take reasonable steps to destroy or de-identify personal information in a secure manner when there is no further need for it or Ventia is required to do so by law
  • take reasonable steps to ensure that only authorised personnel who have agreed to keep personal information confidential have access to the information
  • take reasonable steps to keep personal information up to date, accurate and complete
  • provide individuals access to their personal information on request periodically review and revise this Privacy Statement and related documents to maintain relevance.

Ventia recognises and respects the importance of each individual’s privacy. This Privacy Statement and related documents ensure all personal information held by Ventia is handled appropriately and kept confidential.

What personal information is collected and how?

Ventia will only collect personal information to the extent that it is reasonably necessary for the purposes of its business. Ventia may collect the following types of personal information:

  • information about potential employees including application forms, resumes, interview notes, references, names and contact details of referees, and pre-employment medical information current employee information including name, addresses, email, telephone numbers, tax file numbers, bank account details, next of kin details, date of birth, gender, salary, superannuation funds, licences, memberships, qualifications, passport details and medical information
  • information about business partners including current and potential clients, consultants, subcontractors, suppliers and industry participant’s third party information obtained through contact made via our websites.

Ventia collects personal information orally, in writing, by telephone, via email and via its websites. Ventia collects information in a number of ways including:

  • on its websites, for job applications or email queries
  • as it establishes payroll records for employees through the ongoing management of employees during their time with Ventia
  • by collecting client, supplier and business partner information as part of the ongoing management of its business relationships.

Personal information must be collected in a lawful and fair manner and the collection must be reasonably necessary for the functions and activities of Ventia. Sensitive personal information must only be collected with consent.

What does Ventia use personal information for?

Any personal details you provide will be used for the purpose for which it was provided. This may involve disclosing your personal information to related bodies corporate within Ventia, or to service providers who assist in operating Ventia’s business. All of these organisations are required to comply with the principles of this Privacy Statement.

If you upload your resume to any of Ventia’s websites, you give express consent to use, disclose and store your personal information for the purposes of potential recruitment by Ventia or one of its associated joint ventures or related bodies corporate. When it is considered the information is no longer needed, any details that will identify you will be removed or we will take reasonable steps to destroy the information. Any filed resumes will be secured and protected from unauthorised access.

If your request is for company newsletters or other material, your details and information about the newsletters, or the material you wish to receive will be held on the client database and used for the purpose of administering your subscription or request. Your email details may be used to contact you from time to time to provide you with information about Ventia.
With regard to other interactions through which personal information is obtained, your details will only be accessible to and used by, appropriate personnel. Ventia does not use or disclose any personal details you provide for the purposes of direct marketing.

Disclosing personal information

In some circumstances Ventia may disclose personal information to entities located outside Australia, including to its own related bodies corporate, third party service providers and business partners.

These entities are required to comply with this Privacy Statement. Ventia will only make such disclosures to achieve the purpose for which the information was provided. Otherwise, Ventia’s policy is not to disclose any personal information to any unrelated third party, except with your consent, or where permitted by law to do so.

There are certain safeguards which must be met before transferring personal information outside Australia. These are set out in the Acts. When disclosing information overseas, Ventia will take all reasonable steps to ensure that the recipient will handle the information in a manner consistent with the Acts.

Retention and disposal of information

Ventia will only keep personal information it needs for the purpose for which it was collected. Ventia will take reasonable steps to dispose of such information when it has no further need to use it, or it is required by law to do so.

What information does Ventia collect via its web sites?

Ventia’s websites allow contact with Ventia for the purpose of requesting information about Ventia or making other enquiries.

By submitting the feedback form, you provide certain personal information which may include your name, email address and any other details you include in your form. This information is collected for the purpose of dealing with your request. Ventia may not be able to deal with your request without this information.

No other personal information is collected via Ventia’s websites.

Email security

Any emails you send or receive will be automatically checked for viruses and copied for email archives. Ventia’s IT administrators may have access to emails to manage email security.

Security of information

You should be aware that the internet is not a secure environment. However, Ventia uses all reasonable efforts to ensure that any personal information collected, in whatever format, is held securely.

In addition, only authorised personnel have access to personal information and are required to comply with this Privacy Statement.

Use of cookies

A cookie is a small text file downloaded onto the user’s computer or mobile device when they access a website. Cookies are widely used to make websites work, or work more efficiently, as well as to provide information to the website’s owners and third parties.

Cookies do not identify the user as an individual, but do identify the computer or mobile device they use to access the internet and can therefore be used to collect information about the person’s use of the internet. Cookies do not allow access to any information stored on the user’s computer or mobile device.

Ventia does use cookies in some aspects of its websites. Ventia’s online recruitment service also uses cookies. Where used, the information collected is used to evaluate and improve the website’s effectiveness and to improve your experience when you visit it. Cookies are not used by Ventia to identify who you are or to send you advertising.

Accessing and updating personal information

Upon request, Ventia will provide you with access to the information held about you, unless there is an exception which applies under the APPs. If you are refused access to the information, you will be provided with reasons for the refusal and inform you of any exceptions relied upon under the APPs.

Ventia takes reasonable steps to ensure your personal information is accurate, complete and up to date whenever we collect or use it. If personal information held about you is inaccurate, incomplete or out of date, please let us know so that we can correct this information.

You can access your personal information and notify any change, modification or correction, by contacting Ventia’s Privacy Officer by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Complaints and further information

If you have a complaint or require further information about how Ventia handles personal information or privacy issues please complete the Privacy Act Complaint Form and contact Ventia’s Privacy Officer by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Changes to this privacy statement

From time to time it may be necessary for Ventia to review and revise this Privacy Statement. Ventia reserves the right to change this Privacy Statement at any time. Any changes to this Privacy Statement will be advised by posting an updated version on Ventia’s website.

Contact details

The Privacy Officer
Ventia Pty Limited
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
© Ventia Pty Limited 2015