Sydney Harbour

Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link

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

Latest news

NOV 2019

NOV 2019Western Harbour Tunnel and Warringah Freeway Upgrade

Following consideration of your feedback, we have prepared a detailed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). We expect the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) to place the EIS on public exhibition for your important feedback in early 2020.

Our commitment is for the public exhibition period to be at least six weeks to allow more time for you to review the information, ask questions of our project team and make a submission to DPIE. For more information please see our community update (PDF, 3.27Mb) or contact the team.

You can learn more about the project in your local area by viewing our latest factsheets.

NOV 2019

NOV 2019Beaches Link

We have now updated the Proposed Reference Design for Beaches Link. This includes a number of key construction sites and design features of the project, including:

  • Flat Rock Drive temporary tunnelling site
  • Wakehurst Parkway temporary tunnelling site
  • A refined construction site layout and access road alignment at Balgowlah.

Because of these changes, it will take us more time to finalise the EIS for public exhibition. We expect to have the Beaches Link EIS available for public exhibition from mid-2020. For more information please see our community update (PDF, 3.54Mb) or contact the team.

You can learn more about the project in your local area by viewing our latest factsheets.

Project information

The Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link program is an important part of our vision to create an integrated road and public transport network, balancing the needs of motorists and local communities.

The program consists of:

  • Western Harbour Tunnel which stretches from the Warringah Freeway at Cammeray, across Sydney Harbour, to the WestConnex interchange at Rozelle.
  • Beaches Link which provides an alternative to the Spit Bridge for the Northern Beaches, connecting through to the Warringah Freeway and Gore Hill Freeway.

We will also be upgrading the connection point of the two tunnels, the Warringah Freeway.

Since mid-2018 we have been on a process of extensive community consultation on the reference designs of these projects.

The latest information can be found in the projects community updates:

Proposed reference design
View or download the proposed reference design map (JPG, 1.71Mb).

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.

A number of community information sessions and market stalls will be held across North Sydney, Cammeray and Rozelle in early 2020 to support the release of the Western Harbour Tunnel and Warringah Freeway Upgrade EIS.

These sessions are your opportunity to meet the project team and ask any questions.

More information will be provided next year. Be sure to sign up to our database so you never miss an update.

All feedback received on the proposed reference design has been recorded in the project database and has been considered by the project team in preparation for the exhibition of the EIS.

Western Harbour Tunnel

Access is now closed for comment. However, you may view the Western Harbour Tunnel online tool to see what others had to say about the project.

Beaches Link

Access is now closed for comment. However, you may view the Beaches Link online tool to see what others had to say about the project.

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 propose mitigation measures to avoid and manage these impacts. This includes traffic, air quality, noise and vibration, spoil disposal, sediment management, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heritage, flora, fauna and marine ecology and sustainability.

In addition, feedback received on the proposed reference design during the 2018 community engagement will be considered as we prepare the Environmental Impact Statements.

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, Industry and Environment (DPIE). There will be a public exhibition period and the documents will be available to view on the DPIE website.

You will be able to make formal submissions on the project once the EIS’s are on display. There will be further community engagement during the exhibition period.

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

Project progress planning timeline

Project timeline

  • Preliminary planning - 2015-2017
  • Initial design - March 2017
  • State Significant Infrastructure Application - November 2017
  • Proposed reference design – 26 July, 2018
  • Community engagement - 26 July - 1 December, 2018
  • WE ARE HERE
  • Environmental assessment
  • Seek planning approval
  • Construction
  • Open to traffic.

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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