Easing congestion at Sydney Airport

18 February 2016

Minister for Roads Duncan Gay today announced a package of immediate relief measures and creation of a dedicated Airport Traffic Coordination Committee to help reduce traffic congestion at Sydney Airport.

Mr Gay said the NSW Government and Sydney Airport are investing $500 million in major road and transport upgrades however, more needs to be done to manage traffic movements in and around the airport now.
“It is totally unacceptable that people are missing flights or are sitting in traffic for way too long trying to get in and around Sydney Airport – we have to do better,” Mr Gay said.

“Projects like the internal airport road upgrades, widening of Marsh Street and Joyce Drive, and WestConnex will transform the way people use the airport in the next few years but we have to get the network working as best we can now.”

Motorists will notice the first of a number of “on the ground” improvements - including getting real time information out to help prevent congestion before it hits key airport roads and use of the Motorbike Response Team to better direct traffic movements.

Over the coming weeks, even more improvements will take effect including new clearways and matching of traffic lights to ensure motorists can access the airport when there is capacity to do so, to ensure they’re not being unnecessarily held up outside.

“Importantly, it is also essential we improve communication between the traffic managers and Sydney Airport,” Mr Gay said.

“I’ve established a team of experts - the Airport Traffic Coordination Committee - which will be responsible for setting up a more detailed action plan to manage traffic flow and prepare for busy peak periods.

“We’ll also have an Airport Traffic Coordinator who will work between the Transport Management Centre and Sydney Airport and be in charge of managing traffic around the airport with the ability to direct resources to respond to incidents immediately.”

The Airport Traffic Coordination Committee is comprised of NSW Police, Sydney Airport, Transport Management Centre, and Roads and Maritime Services. The Committee will hold its first meeting next week and will remain in contact daily.


Actions in place from today:

  • Using electronic message signs on Southern Cross Drive and South Dowling Street to guide motorists to use alternative routes as appropriate.
  • For example - to use General Holmes Drive (then Qantas Drive) as an alternative to Marsh Street.
  • Using the Police Motorcycle Response Unit and other resources to stop traffic queuing particularly at the M5 East/Marsh Street intersection.
  • An Airport Traffic Coordinator at TMC and Sydney Airport to work directly on managing airport traffic flow and responding to incidents immediately.
  • Establishment of an Airport Traffic Coordination Committee to set up a more comprehensive action plan for implementation in the next few months and to prepare for busy peak periods.
  • Comprehensive action plan will include more involved infrastructure changes ie. improving internal traffic circulation patterns, potential removal of traffic lights.

Actions in coming weeks:

  • Installing a 24 hour clearway on Marsh Street between the M5 East and the international airport to reduce congestion caused by parked cars and buses.
  • Better matching and co-ordination of traffic lights and intersections inside and outside the airport to utilise capacity and prevent hold ups.
  • Improving line marking at the M5 East and Marsh Street intersection to discourage queuing across the intersection.


  • Widening of Marsh Street to three lanes in each direction between Giovanni Brunetti Bridge and M5 interchange.
    • Major work start: April 2016. Work completed: Early 2017
  • Widening Joyce Drive and General Holmes Drive to Mill Pond Drive, including a new road under rail underpass at Wentworth Avenue to Botany Road
    • Major work start: Late 2016. Work completed: End of 2018.
  • Widening O’Riordan Street from Bourke Road to Qantas Drive and upgrade to Robey Street
    • REF displayed mid-2016.

MEDIA: Vanessa Juresic | 0419 618 081

View the original media release

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