Construction on a new Sydney Harbour tunnel is set to begin in 2022 after project was given the green light by the NSW government. The planning approval has been granted for the Western Harbour Tunnel and Warringah Freeway upgrade, which is expected to be completed in 2026. The Western Harbour Tunnel will connect to the Warringah Freeway and the proposed Beaches Link.
The combined cost of the projects, which includes a 6.5 kilometre tunnel from an underground junction for the WestConnex toll road at Rozelle to the upgraded Warringah Freeway at North Sydney, is slated at AUD 14 billion.
The tunnels will be built in a trench on the harbour floor, and large prefabricated concrete tubes lowered into place from barges above. Concerns were raised last year by the Port Authority of NSW about the movement of toxic sludge that will be dug up during construction of the tunnel.
The authority said the handling of the contaminated material would be occurring within 150 metres of homes, suggesting odour and volatile emissions could become a problem.
The government has undertaken testing at the proposed site of the tunnel, while a dedicated team of environmental specialists have been assigned to the project.