Who will benefit from the M2 upgrade? The upgrade which is set to take 24 months and inconvenience users? The upgrade that will result in an increase in the toll to $6 at the conclusion (with an interim toll increase in 2011)?
The answer appears to be that it will mostly be bus users, and those other vehicles that are allowed in Bus Only lanes: taxis and hire cars.
Looking at the project map on the Hills M2 Upgrade website
, the only section of new lane open to normal traffic (everything except buses, taxis and hire cars) will be the section in purple. This is the eastbound section between the tunnel and Lane Cove Road, and it will become a transit lane (T2 - driver plus minimum one passenger).
It appears that the rest of the new lanes, shown in red, will be "Bus Only" lanes.
I have not found any media reports mentioning this and I have asked the question directly to M2 Community Relations department but the answer was not clear and certainly implied that the new lanes would be for bus use. I can understand that they wouldn't want this information to be made clear to motorists.
Here's some of the response I received from the M2 Community Relations department:"The scope of the M2 Upgrade project was agreed by government to respond to immediate needs to link into public transport.""The widening of the motorway will increase capacity and make journey times for buses along the M2 more reliable."
Having reviewed the information on the website, the only benefits to motorists will be the following:
• A 100km/h speed limit westbound from Lane Cove Road to Beecroft Road (no use during afternoon peak hours) and the restoration of breakdown lanes in the same area
• The new entry and exit ramps
The new eastbound T2 lane will be of little benefit as this is one of the few places on the M2 that usually runs fairly smoothly.
If I ever get a straight answer on this topic I will post information here.