Monday, 14 August 2017

MILESTONE: The M5 Motorway turns 25 (1992)

Today (August 14) is the 25th Birthday of the M5 Motorway. I have obtained material from the time of opening in 1992.

Source: Interlink Roads Pty Ltd. 1992. "M5" (Advertisement). The Sunday Telegraph, August 9: 48. 

When opened in August 1992, Stage 1 ran from Fairford Road, Padstow to the Hume Highway at Casula. Drivers were charged $1.50. When extended to King Georges Road, Beverly Hills several months later, the toll rose to $2. In today's money, that would be equivalent to $3.64. Excluding GST, motorists pay $4.04 to use the same road at present ($4.60 with GST).

The opening of the M5 was marred by protests. Premier John Fahey left it to his deputy and roads minister Wal Murray to open the road. Driving legend Peter Brock was the first driver on the new motorway. He was the marketing ambassador for its owner Interlink Roads.

Source: Skelsey, M. 1992. "M5 drama as 300 heckle Murray". The Daily Telegraph Mirror, August 15: 7. 

One challenge with new toll roads in Sydney has been the ability to attract traffic upon opening. The M5 was no stranger. Opening Day had virtually no traffic.

Even a year later, it was being criticized for the fact it took people "nowhere"


Source: Allan, C (Editor). 1993. "Making M5 a road to somewhere" (Editorial). The Daily Telegraph Mirror, November 1: 10. 

Not even promoting the motorway as the only way into Sydney worked.

Source: Stapleton, J. 1992. "This way to the M5 but where's the free way?". The Sydney Morning Herald, August 25: 4. 

Fast forward a quarter of a century later and the M5 is one of Sydney's most congested roads. Not even adding second and third lanes (1999 & 2011) in each direction would relieve congestion. The M5 East (2001) connected the motorway to the Orbital network, allowing motorists direct access into central Sydney, Sydney Airport and Port Botany.

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