Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link

The NSW Government continues to progress planning for the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link.

Updates and announcements

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the Proposed Reference Design for Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link.

The period for feedback extended from Thursday 26 July 2018 and closed on Saturday 1 December 2018.

All feedback received after Saturday 1 December will continue to be recorded in the project database as the Project Team prepares for the Environmental Impact Statements.

We welcome further comments at any time. If you would like to receive project updates email whtbl@rms.nsw.gov.au and request to be added to our email database.

Previous updates and announcements

Less time in traffic, more time for you!

Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link is a major transport infrastructure proposal that will make it easier, faster and safer to get around Sydney.

The NSW Government has released the proposed reference design for this landmark project.

View or download:

Community engagement

The proposed reference design for Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link was released on 26 July 2018 and extensive community engagement was undertaken through to 1 December 2018.

The engagement included 20 community information sessions that were held across the proposed alignment, including at Balmain, North Sydney, Crows Nest, Mosman, Cammeray and Balgowlah. The sessions were attended by more than 2,600 people.

In total, more than 7,300 items of feedback were received by the project team during the engagement phase, including more than 4,000 comments pinned to two online comment maps.

The 2018 community engagement builds on the engagement carried out for the 2017 concept design in when 16 information sessions were attended by more than 2,100 people.

Comment maps

All feedback received on the proposed reference design has been recorded in the project database, and is being considered by Roads and Maritime Services ahead of the exhibition of the Environmental Impact Statements in 2019.

Environmental planning

As with any major transport infrastructure project, Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link will be subject to a rigorous and comprehensive environmental impact assessment.

This assessment will examine all potential environmental and social impacts that may occur during the construction and operation of the project, and proposed mitigation measures to avoid, manage or mitigate these impacts.  This includes traffic, air quality, noise and vibration, spoil disposal, sediment management, Aboriginal and European heritage, flora, fauna and marine ecology, and sustainability.

In addition, feedback received on the proposed reference design during the 2018 community engagement (26 July - 1 December 2018) will be considered as Roads and Maritime prepares the Environmental Impact Statements for the project.

There will be two Environmental Impact Statements – one for Western Harbour Tunnel (including Warringah Freeway upgrade) and one for Beaches Link (including the Gore Hill Freeway connection). Each will address the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) issued in December 2017. The SEARs establish issues that must be addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement.

The environmental assessment will be managed by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment. There will be a public exhibition period and the documents will be available to view on the Department’s website during that time.

You will be able to make formal submissions on any aspect of the project once the EISs are on display. There will be further community engagement during the exhibition period, including further community sessions.

The Environmental Impact Statements will be reviewed by the Department of Planning and Environment, NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, NSW Chief Health Officer, and independent reviewers before planning approval can be granted.

Air quality monitoring

The NSW Government announced in February 2018 stronger measures on emissions from motorway tunnels.

Under these reforms, the ventilation outlets of all current and future operating motorway tunnels in NSW will be regulated by the NSW Environment Protection Authority. The EPA will require tunnel operators to meet air quality limits and undertake air quality monitoring, where practicable.

Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link is one of the first major transport infrastructure programs in NSW required to undergo additional checks before planning determination which includes the:

  • Advisory Committee on Tunnel Air Quality (ACTAQ) coordinating a scientific review of the project’s air emissions from ventilation outlets
  • NSW Chief Health Officer releasing a statement on the potential health impacts of emissions from tunnel ventilation outlets; and
  • Minister for Planning not approving a motorway tunnel project until the ACTAQ scientific review is considered.

Existing measures monitoring the air quality inside motorway tunnels remain in place.

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