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

MAY 2020

MAY 2020Contamination Factual Report – Marine Investigations

These reports present factual results of the contamination assessment of seabed sediments along the proposed alignment of the Immersed Tube Tunnel options and at proposed construction sites.

View or download the Contamination Factual Report – Marine Investigation: Revision B, December 2017 (PDF, 55.4Mb)

View or download the Contamination Factual Report – Marine Investigation: Revision C, August 2018 (PDF 30Mb)

If you have any questions about the project or would like to speak to a member of the project team, please don't hesitate to contact us on 1800 931 189 or whtbl@transport.nsw.gov.au.

APR 2020

APR 2020Marine monitoring - Navigation restrictions

We are carrying out marine monitoring in Middle Harbour to provide important information to help our ongoing planning for the Beaches Link project. There will be some navigation restrictions to allow the monitoring to take place safely.

The safety and wellbeing of our workforce and the wider community is our highest priority. Our people are following hygiene and appropriate social distancing measures and will continue to do so.

Vessel operators are advised we deployed two marine monitoring buoys in Middle Harbour on Tuesday 28 April 2020 and these will remain in place until Sunday 31 May 2020.

The location of the sites were selected to avoid permanent moorings and high traffic areas. The locations are expected to have limited impact on marine traffic and to be clearly visible at all times. Our work will mean there will be some impacts on navigation in Middle Harbour.

All vessel operators and persons in the vicinity must keep a proper lookout, keep clear of the buoys, pay particular attention to construction work vessels and any advisory signage and exercise extreme caution when navigating in the area. This navigation restriction and warning remains in place for the duration of the works.

For more information, please see our more detailed notification* (PDF, 231Kb) or contact us via 1800 931 189 or whtbl@transport.nsw.gov.au.

*Notification was updated 4 May 2020 due to a change in locations of the marine monitoring buoys and new work dates.

APR 2020

APR 2020Environmental Impact Statement exhibition now closed

The Environmental Impact Statement for the Western Harbour Tunnel and Warringah Freeway Upgrade was on exhibition between 29 January and 30 March 2020.

We thank you for your submissions on the project. We will now prepare a submissions report to respond to the issues/concerns raised.

The report will be submitted to Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and will be available on their website in the coming months. This report and the EIS help inform the Minster for Planning and Public Spaces’ decision on the project.

If the project is approved it will be built and operated in accordance with the plans described in the EIS and the Minster for Planning and Public Spaces’ Conditions of Approval.

If you have any questions about the project or would like to speak to a member of the project team, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 1800 931 189 or whtbl@transport.nsw.gov.au.

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 later in 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.

Between 29 January 2020 and 30 March 2020 we carried out a wide range of community engagement activities to consult with communities along the project’s alignment and talk to them about the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). This included but was not limited to:

  • Eight community information sessions, held at Balmain, North Sydney and Cammeray
  • Letterbox drops of postcards inviting local residents to community information sessions
  • Door knocks of impacted properties
  • Interactive portal with project information, maps and videos
  • Advertisements in major and local newspapers
  • Public display of the EIS at Stanton Library, the Crows Nest Centre, Inner West Council’s Leichardt Office, Chatswood Library, Willoughby Council, Transport for NSW at Ennis Road, and North Sydney Council
  • A wide range of social media activities, including postings on facebook and LinkedIn.

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, the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link projects are subject to a rigorous and comprehensive environmental impact assessment.

This assessment examines all potential environmental and social impacts that may occur during the construction and operation of the project, and proposes 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, as we prepare the Environmental Impact Statements, we take into consideration the feedback that was received on the proposed reference design during the 2018 community engagement period.

There will be two separate Environmental Impact Statements – one for Western Harbour Tunnel Warringah Freeway upgrade, which was on public exhibition from 29 January 2020 to 30 March 2020; and one for Beaches Link and Gore Hill Freeway connection, which will be released later in 2020. Each is required to address the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs), which was issued in December 2017. The SEARs establish issues that must be addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement.

The environmental assessment is managed by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE). During the public exhibition period of an EIS, the documents are made available to view on the DPIE website and via the project portals. During this time, you are invited to make formal submissions on the project and further community engagement is carried out.

The Environmental Impact Statements are reviewed by DPIE, the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, the 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
  • Environmental assessment - WE ARE HERE
  • 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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