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.