The Western Harbour Tunnel and Warringah Freeway Upgrade has been approved by the New South Wales (NSW) government.

Tendering is already under way, with the shortlist announced in December 2020.

Minister for transport and roads Andrew Constance said that the project includes a 6.5km tunnel, with three lanes in each direction, which will help slash travel times from North Sydney to Sydney Olympic Park by up to 20 minutes. It will be the third road crossing of the harbour

 “The Western Harbour Tunnel will take pressure off the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Harbour Tunnel, Anzac Bridge and Western Distributor corridors to revolutionise transport capacity in and around our city,” said Constance.

The new tunnel will start at the new Rozelle Interchange and head under the Harbour to the Warringah Freeway, and will integrate new and existing public transport connections.

“This city-shaping piece of infrastructure will deliver a vital boost to the NSW economy, with the tunnel and freeway upgrade, along with Beaches Link, expected to support around 15,000 full time equivalent jobs.”

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Minister for planning and public spaces Rob Stokes said the project will transform the way people move across the harbour, with traffic volumes to be reduced on some of Sydney’s busiest roads.

“Planning approval means the NSW government can get on with delivering the first stage, which is an upgrade to one of Sydney’s busiest and most complex road corridors, four kilometres of the Warringah Freeway,” said Stokes.

“Community feedback on the project has been valuable in helping understand and deliver positive changes to the design and plan, and we will continue to work closely with local communities as the project gets under way.

“Conditions of the project include an investigation of more footpaths and cycleways in the area and a requirement that any trees removed need to be replaced at a ratio of two-to-one.”

Following completion of the procurement process and contract awards, construction is expected to start in the first quarter of 2021.

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