Sydney's newest motorway to open today

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Friday, December 16, 2005 The Westlink M7 motorway is set to open today some eight months ahead of schedule.

The 40 km long motorway runs from the Hills Motorway (M2) at Baulkham Hills and ends at the South Western Motorway (M5) at Prestons. The motorway features 17 interchanges for access to and from Western Sydney suburbs.

The most complicated interchange along the motorway is the Lighthorse Interchange at Eastern Creek. This interchange links the Westlink M7 with the Western Motorway (M4). It is the largest interchange in the Southern Hemisphere.

The motorway will be officially opened by Prime Minister John Howard and will be opened in stages. Motorists will be able to tell if an interchange is open as it will be indicated by signs.

Westlink M7 claim that the road will take more than 200 people and 12 hours to open and is the longest section of motorway to ever be opened in one day in Sydney.

The Westlink M7 motorway has been funded by the Commonwealth Government and private enterprise and is owned by Westlink M7. It is Australia's first toll road to use distance based tolling, with tolls ranging from 40c to $5.97 depending on distance travelled. Tolling is fully electronic with motorists requiring an electronic tag or pass. There are no tollbooths as cash is not accepted.

The Westlink M7 motorway will be free to travel on until January 15, 2006.