M5 East Motorway


What to do before entering a tunnel

  • Before you enter a tunnel there are a few things you should do:
      • Close your windows.
      • Turn your air conditioning to recycle.
      • Turn on your radio.
      • Switch on your head lights.
      • Always check message boards and signage.

When travelling in the tunnel, keep a safe gap from the car in front of you and avoid changing lanes if possible.

Using the tunnel

  • What should I do if I breakdown or have an accident in the tunnel?
    • If you suspect your vehicle is malfunctioning do not enter the tunnel.
    • If possible drive out of the tunnel. If not possible, pull over to a breakdown bay or the side of the lane.
    • Stay in your vehicle unless otherwise advised.
    • Switch on your hazard lights.
    • Wait for help to arrive.
    • You will be monitored by cameras and assistance will be sent to tow your vehicle.
    • If you need to call for help, it is preferred that you use the emergency phones as they will automatically identify your location within the tunnel. The tunnel control room will contact emergency services if necessary.
  • Where are the emergency phones located?
    • There are emergency phones located at regular intervals along the motorway and within the tunnels . The phones will connect you directly to the M5 East Motorway control centre.
  • When should the emergency exits be used?
    • There are 32 emergency cross passages located at 120 metre spacings within the main tunnel and 4 cross passages within the Cooks River Tunnel.  The cross passages allow motorists to cross to other carriageway in the event of an emergency within the tunnel.  There are also emergency exits to points outside of the motorway. These include an emergency exit stairwell at the end of the Princes Highway exit ramp to Arncliffe Street, Arncliffe; emergency escape stairwell near Marsh Street sub station to M5 East Motorway Control Centre car park; and emergency escape stairwells on both carriageways of the General Holmes Drive viaduct to Kyeemagh Avenue, Mascot. These are emergency pedestrian exits only and should only be used when directed by emergency personnel or by the motorway control centre staff.
  • What should I do if I am caught in traffic?
    • Turn on your radio – emergency broadcasts may be transmitted and will cut into your radio station.
    • If instructed, turn off your engine. Idling for extended periods produces higher levels of pollutants.
  • Can pedestrians and cyclists use the tunnel?
    • No, it is not safe for pedestrians and cyclists to use the tunnel.
  • What is the speed limit inside the tunnel?
    • The maximum speed limit is 80 km/h.
  • Are there speed cameras inside the tunnel?
    • Yes, there are speed cameras located inside the tunnel in both directions of travel.

Tunnel closures and maintenance

  • How will I know if the tunnel is closed?
    • The tunnel is closed for regular maintenance four nights per month. These closures will be posted on this website and notified on electronic signage along the motorway prior to the closures.  Click here to receive email notifications advising of scheduled maintenance closures.
  • The tunnel may be closed at short notice due to unplanned incidents such as major breakdowns or accidents. Motorists are advised to be aware of electronic signage along the major roads and motorways that feed onto the motorway. Traffic conditions and incidents are reported on many major Sydney radio stations.
  • What route do I take if the tunnel is closed?
    • A sign-posted route, called the D5, is recommended as the alternative route to use when the tunnel is closed. Click here, to see a map of the D5 route.

Air Quality and Dangerous Goods in the tunnel

  • Where can I find information about how air quality is managed and monitored?

Further information about air quality in and around the M5 East Tunnel can be found on the Roads and Maritime Services website, click here.

  • What are dangerous goods and are they allowed to be transported through the M5 East Tunnel?

Dangerous goods are substances that pose a heightened risk to people, property and/or the environment due to their chemical or physical properties. Examples include loads that are flammable, toxic, infectious, radioactive, explosive or corrosive.

Vehicles transporting dangerous goods are not permitted to use tunnels in NSW. By law, these vehicles are required to display a diamond-shaped placard to identify the specific dangerous goods being carried and must use detour routes as displayed on advance warning signs prior to tunnel entrances.

Further information is available from the Environment Protection Authority NSW website: http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/dangerousgoods/

Speeding and Speed Reductions

  • I have received a speeding fine after using the M5 East Tunnel. Where can I find out more information regarding the details of this infringement?

Requests for information regarding speed limit reduction times and the reasons for speed limit reductions within the M5 East tunnel must be made to Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) who own and operate the speed camera equipment.

To view your infringement pictures, if available, please click on the link below. This will show the posted speed at the time of your infringement. https://www.apps08.osr.nsw.gov.au/customer_service/photos/

Alternatively, you can contact RMS directly via their website:


  •  Why are there speed reductions in the tunnel? 

The M5 East tunnel is a variable speed limit zone meaning that speed limits can be altered for a variety of reasons at any given time. This includes, but is not limited to, incident response and maintenance activities. It is the motorist’s responsibility to ensure that sign posted speed limits are adhered to at all times.

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M5 East Motorway, New South Wales, Australia

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