The Loftus-Waterfall part of the F6 extension is “off the agenda”, according to a government MP.
The bombshell comes as the NRMA called for more clarity on the government’s plans for that section of the long-awaited road project.
In parliament on Wednesday Liberal MPs crowed about the announcement that planning was under way for stage one of the extension – a four-kilometre tunnel from Arncliffe to Kogarah.
The status of stage four – Loftus to Waterfall – has been unclear since Tuesday’s announcement but Mr Evans may have let the cat out of the bag in parliament on Wednesday.
“The government has announced stage one,” Mr Evans said.
“Stages two and three, which go up Taren Point Bridge and beyond, are still on the drawing board.
“South of Loftus, which is the national park, is basically off the agenda.”
The decision to shelve the fourth stage came from Roads and Maritime Services, a spokesman said.
“Roads and Maritime recommended not continuing investigations for the Loftus to Waterfall section as the demonstrated need is not as high as it is for the rest of the F6 extension,” an RMS spokesman said.
The spokesman said traffic modelling and further investigations showed there were “immediate benefits” in proceeding with stage one.
That’s a stance echoed by the NRMA, with executive general manager of corporate affairs Peter Colacino saying the body was pleased that work was moving forward on the project “after 70 years of inaction”.
“Our view is the most-needed stage is the section they’ve committed to,” Mr Colacino said.
He said the NRMA felt stage three, from Sutherland to Loftus needed to be delivered “in the near future”.
While stating that the Waterfall-Loftus stage wasn’t as “pressing” as the others, Mr Colacino said it could end up being “a missing link” so clarity was needed.
“Clarity is important,” he said.
“Construction of roads in sections is something that is really being favoured these days.
“We do it in order to keep toll prices down in the initial stages. But some level of certainty is very important for the people of the Illawarra and beyond in terms of what the government’s long-term intention is.”