Construction begins on Stage 1 of NSW Western Harbour Tunnel project

Monica Gameng   |   August 2, 2022
Western Harbour Tunnel (cr: NSW Government)

Following the awarding of the contract for the Southern Tunnelling Works package, excavation has now commenced on the first stage of the Western Harbour Tunnel in New South Wales. 

This is a significant milestone for the massive development that will deliver a 1.7-kilometre mainline tunnel from Rozelle to Birchgrove. 

“Major construction has now commenced on the Western Harbour Tunnel – one of the most significant transport infrastructure projects being delivered in Sydney. 

“This really is a historic moment for our city. It was 90 years ago that construction completed on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and 30 years since the Sydney Harbour Tunnel opened. Today, construction is commencing on Sydney’s third harbour crossing,” Minister for Metropolitan Roads Natalie Ward said. 

In January 2022, the Southern Tunnelling Works contract was awarded to the John Holland CPB Joint Venture, which is also undertaking works on the Rozelle Interchange project. 

Extending the joint venture’s scope of works will allow for a seamless integration of the Western Harbour Tunnel into Sydney’s motorway network through leveraging existing skills as well as equipment and resources. This option will also help reduce disruption to the local community. 

On the other hand, the contract for the Northern Tunnelling Works package – which will run from Birchgrove, through Sydney Harbour and onto North Sydney – is expected to be awarded in late 2022. 

The Southern Tunnelling Works is anticipated to be completed by mid-2025. 

Key features of the Western Harbour Tunnel include: 

  • 6.5 kilometres of twin tunnels with three lanes in each direction 
  • Tunnels to be mostly driven, with the crossing of Sydney Harbour between Birchgrove and Waverton being immersed tubes 
  • Tunnel-to-tunnel connection to the M4-M5 Link near Rozelle Interchange 
  • Future connection options for Beaches Link and Gore Hill Freeway 
  • Surface connections to City West Link at Rozelle and to Warringah Freeway, Falcon Street and Berry Street in North Sydney 
  • Ancillary infrastructure to enable ongoing operation of the tunnel 

“Once complete, this important new connection will change the way commuters move across the city, taking pressure off key transport arteries including the Harbour Bridge and Tunnel, Anzac Bridge and Western Distributor. 

“Our government is delivering projects that make it faster, easier and safer for commuters to move around our city as part of our $110 billion infrastructure investment pipeline,” Minister Ward said. 

Once open to traffic, motorists will be able to save up to 15 minutes of travel time when travelling from North Sydney to Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport. 

The overall Western Harbour Tunnel project is expected to create approximately 7,000 full-time direct jobs during its construction phase. 

Source: Liberal New South Wales; NSW Government – Western Harbour Tunnel; Roads & Infrastructure Australia; Infrastructure Magazine; Roads Australia; Australia New Zealand Infrastructure Pipeline 

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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