Sydney’s Rozelle Interchange was opened over the weekend, after four years of construction – but a confusing road sign has contributed to peak hour traffic chaos.
Dubbed a “spaghetti junction”, it’s being labelled among the most complex underground junctions to date.
The Rozelle Interchange connects motorists to the M4 and M8 tunnel extensions, Anzac Bridge, the City West Link, the Western Distributor, a toll-free underground bypass of Victoria Road and the future Western Harbour Tunnel.
The project was officially opened on Saturday November 25, ahead of the first vehicles passing through on Sunday morning.
Around 100,000 vehicles a day are expected to use the Rozelle Interchange, completing the WestConnex project that began in 2015 with the new M4 tunnel.
But as peak hour hit on Monday morning, motorists in the city’s inner west battled through traffic congestion.
Much of the chaos was blamed on poor signage near the Iron Cove Bridge, which doesn’t make it clear that the lanes for those drivers heading into the city via the Anzac Bridge are toll free.
This resulted in many motorists queuing to enter the Anzac Bridge from Victoria Road, rather than using what they thought was a toll road.
Following the lengthy delays, Transport for NSW (TfNSW) coordinator-deneral Howard Collins yesterday said, “I want to thank everyone who planned ahead before making their journey this morning and while we did see heavy congestion on Victoria Road on the approach to the Iron Cove Bridge, the rest of the network ran smoothly.
“Motorists were confused as to what lane they needed to be in as they headed towards the city and this caused heavy traffic to bank up on Victoria Road.”
To address the issue, TfNSW says additional VMS signs and extra portable signs were turned on in the lead up to the tunnel, reminding motorists to use the two right hand lanes to access the toll free section of the tunnel between the Iron Cove Bridge and ANZAC Bridge.
“We know it will take some time for motorists to become familiar with the network changes and we are exploring options to improve permanent signage around the entrance to the new tunnel to guide drivers to their desired route,” Collins added.
“Our main concern so far is that we are seeing drivers changing lanes at late notice over the ANZAC Bridge heading towards City-West link and Victoria Road – please pay extra attention to road signs, don’t panic, and drive carefully.
“When travelling out of the city, please use the right lanes if you are going to the City-West link, M8 or turning onto Victoria Road. The two left hand lanes on the ANZAC Bridge will lead drivers onto the M4 as well as the free, new tunnel linking the ANZAC Bridge to the Iron Cove Bridge.”
NSW Premier Chris Minns says the sign as the centre of much of the confusion would be changed, adding, “It will get better, GPS will catch up and they’ll used the learned knowledge of repeat car activity to demonstrate you can use this roadway without having to pay a toll.”
The Rozelle Interchange is part of the $16.8 billion WestConnex Project which was jointly funded, with $1.5 billion from the Australian Government, and a $2 billion concessional loan, and with NSW Government contributing $1.8 billion.