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The M5 East Motorway is an important link in the Sydney Orbital road network. The intent of the project was to significantly improve access between south western Sydney, the city, and the major industrial and commercial areas of South Sydney. The State Government awarded the tender to build the M5 East to the Baulderstone Hornibrook Bilfinger+Berger Joint Venture in August 1998. A number of important improvements were made to the original proposal after extensive community consultation. The Roads and Traffic Authority (now Roads and Maritime Services) was given planning approval to proceed with the project in December 1997 and was subject to over 150 conditions. 

The M5 East was a boost for the economy and jobs. The M5 East created about 2000 jobs during the construction. 

Construction work was divided into four distinct sections. Each section had its own management structure and defined responsibilities. The sections were the:

Western section, which included:

  • King Georges Road interchange
  • Kingsgrove Road on and off ramps
  • Bexley Road on and off ramps
  • two bridge underpasses (King Georges Road and Coolangatta Road)
  • four pedestrian/cycle underpasses
  • two bridges for separate carriageways over Kingsgrove Road
  • a major diversion and widening of the Wolli Creek channel.

Main tunnel section, which included:

  • two 10 kilometre parallel tunnels under Arncliffe and Bardwell Valley
  • 36 cross passages
  • the tunnel ventilation intake and exhaust structures.

Marsh Street section, which included:

  • the cut and cover tunnel work at the eastern portal across Marsh and West Botany Streets, Arncliffe
  • widening and upgrade of Marsh Street to a full diamond signalled interchange for the intersection with the motorway
  • the M5 East Motorway Control Centre
  • an off ramp and intersection at Princes Highway, Arncliffe

Eastern section, which included:

  • a 300 metre viaduct over the environmentally sensitive Eve Street Wetlands and heritage-listed Arncliffe Sewage Aqueduct (constructed in 1895)
  • the cut and cover tunnel work for the 500 metre tunnel under the Cooks River
  • a 600 metre viaduct over a section of the Cooks River and General Holmes Drive.

M5 East was opened to traffic in December 2001. The motorway has reduced traffic congestion in residential areas, improved traffic flow, and removed heavy vehicles from key local roads, with safety, noise and improved air quality benefits for the community.



Structures and features

Motorway and Tunnels

The M5 East Motorway is a 10 kilometre motorway connecting the M5 South West Motorway with General Holmes Drive and the Eastern Distributor. The M5 East provides two lanes of carriageway in each direction and includes two four kilometre tunnels and a 550 metre tunnels under the Cooks River.

Vehicles can enter and/or exit the motorway at eight locations. They are:

  • M5 South West
  • King Georges Road
  • Kingsgrove Road
  • Bexley Road
  • Princes Highway
  • West Botany Street
  • Marsh Street
  • General Holmes Drive.

The speed limit on the motorway is 80 kilometres per hour between King Georges Road and General Holmes Drive.

Shared Path

Off-road shared path facilities extend from King Georges Road to Bexley Road. The shared path is linked to local cycle routes.

Pedestrians and cyclists can cross the motorway via underpasses and overpasses at:

  • Beverly Grove Park
  • Karingal Street
  • Arinya Street
  • Lundy Avenue
  • King Georges Road
  • Coolangatta Road
  • Kingsgrove Road
  • Bexley Road.

Detour routes for cyclists and pedestrians are currently in place for construction of WestConnex New M5. Alternative routes are sign-posted along the path.

For more information regarding the M5 East shared path facilities, please refer to the web application Cycleway Finder or download the app to your Smartphone.

Update: The motorway bicycle lanes between King Georges Road and Bexley Road were removed. The bicycle access to the shared path via the gate located 100 metres before the Bexley Road tunnel portal is now permanently closed.

For further details regarding the shared pathway status during the construction of the New M5 and King Georges Road Interchange Upgrade, please refer to the WestConnex New M5 website.