THE NSW Government last week revealed a preferred route for the Beaches Link and Western Harbour tunnels, which have been identified in the 2012 Long Term Transport Master Plan and other planning documents as priority infrastructure projects for Sydney.
The Beaches Link tunnel will connect to the Warringah Freeway, cross underneath Middle Harbour and connect with the Burnt Bridge Creek Deviation at Balgowlah. The Wakehurst Parkway will be upgraded to two lanes each way between Seaforth and Frenchs Forest.
The Western Harbour Tunnel will connect to WestConnex at the Rozelle Interchange, cross underneath Sydney Harbour and connect with the Warringah Freeway at North Sydney.
According to the State Government, motorists using the tunnels will bypass up to 19 sets of traffic lights and cut up to 40 minutes in travel time between Brookvale and the CBD, and up to 45 minutes between Manly and Parramatta.
At this stage of the project, the government has also:
- Started to contact 71 property owners who may be directly impacted by the route;
- Committed $77 million to undertake geotechnical work along the route;
- Started a market-sounding process involving the private sector to look into funding and delivery options; and
- Started community information sessions.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it had taken two years to make the project a reality.
"The NSW Government is committed to delivering this important project which will reduce congestion along the gridlocked Spit and Military Roads and provide a Sydney Harbour and Anzac Bridge bypass for Western and Southern Sydney motorists," Ms Berejiklian said.
Roads Minister Melinda Pavey said geo-testing will begin shortly after Easter and will take place over the next 6 to 9 months in suburbs including Balgowlah, Seaforth, North Sydney, Neutral Bay and Cammeray.
"Residents should be aware there will be up to 235 borehole sites tested. These investigations will feed into detailed engineering design, final costings for the project and further route analysis," Ms Pavey said.
This next stage of work, expected to be completed in mid-2018, will include:
- Reference design;
- Final project costings;
- Funding strategy including tolling options and private sector involvement; and
- Construction timelines including start and completion dates.