M5 East

The M5 East significantly improves access between south western Sydney, the city, Sydney Airport, Port Botany and the major industrial and commercial land uses surrounding the airport. The M5 East connects to the M5 South West Motorway at King Georges Road in Beverly Hills and with General Holmes Drive and on to the Eastern Distributor.

M5 East tunnel entrance - Marsh St
M5 East tunnel entrance - Marsh St

The M5 East Freeway is almost 10 kilometres in length and includes twin four kilometre tunnels between Bexley Road, Earlwood and Marsh Street, Arncliffe. A 550 metre tunnel passes under the Cooks River.

Since opening, the M5 East tunnel has been operating in accordance with the Planning Minister's conditions of approval for the project issued in December 1997.

Key tunnel features

  • Air quality in the tunnel is monitored 24 hours per day, 7 days per week
  • The tunnel has 132 jet fans and 18 axial fans to assist the operation of the in-tunnel ventilation system
  • Fresh air is brought into the tunnel from the tunnel entrances and exits and also from a separate fresh air intake plant located at Duff Street, Arncliffe
  • Air containing pollutants is drawn away from the middle of the tunnel and expelled through a ventilation outlet located in Turella. The height of the outlet is 30 metres, this ensures that pollutants from vehicle emissions are well dispersed
  • There are five ambient (outside) air quality monitoring stations located in the Wolli Creek area that collect important meteorological information and air quality data. This information is available to the community on an easy to use, interactive map. To view information see Outside air quality monitoring.
  • An alternative travel route or detour is available to traffic during emergency closures and routine maintenance when the tunnel is closed. The alternative route is signposted as 'D5' along its length.

M5 East Tunnel jet fans fast facts

  • Tunnel jet fans typically discharge air from the outlet at 90-110km per hour
  • The purpose of the jet fans is to push the air inside the tunnel, to keep it moving to the discharge point
  • Each jet fan is as powerful as a family car
  • The physical size of a tunnel jet fan is similar to that of a commercial airliner, however, they are only about 1% as powerful as a plane
  • Tunnel jet fans have extensive sound muffling to ensure safe noise levels for motorists inside the tunnel.
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