Western Harbour Tunnel
Preferred bidder announced
Greenfield (construction) or brownfield (government asset divestment) projects needed or likely to occur within the next five years, but is not formally proposed by a state, territory or major local government.
The project or divestment is supported by a state, territory or major local government, is subject to studies or other processes (such as pre-feasibility or scoping studies or business case development), and is likely to proceed to formal announcement.
The project has a firm commitment and timeline from a state, territory or major local government, but has not yet entered the market.
The project or transaction is under procurement (such as a call for Expressions of Interest, requests for tender, or another offer to the market).
Preferred bidder announced
A preferred bidder has been selected and is in exclusive negotiations.
Projects that have progressed to contractual close remain on ANZIP for 12 months.
ANZIP is focused only on major infrastructure activity, above the following thresholds:
Construction projects: > AUD$300m
Investable greenfield & brownfield: > AUD$100m
All greenfield and brownfield projects and divestments: > NZD $100 million
The Western Harbour Tunnel is set to be the first North South road crossing since the Sydney Harbour Tunnel opened in the early 1990s.
The Western Harbour Tunnel is planned to connect from the Rozelle rail yards to northern Sydney – offering relief on the existing harbour crossings as well as the Eastern Distributor and Anzac Bridge. Identified in Infrastructure NSW’s 2014 State Infrastructure Strategy, the 2016 NSW budget allocated funding to ‘commence planning for the Western Harbour Tunnel’ and the Beaches Link project.
Currently, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Harbour Tunnel corridor carry 80 per cent of all vehicles crossing Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River. Both are already experiencing increasing levels of congestion.
In March 2017 the NSW Government announced a preferred route and the start of the market sounding process for both the Beaches Link Tunnel and the Western Harbour Tunnel, and an upgrade to the Warringah Freeway. Contract configuration and scale for these projects is yet to be determined.
Market sounding is likely to test the private sector’s appetite for revenue risk and tolling, and investigate if a lease of existing north south harbour crossings could minimise the financial burden on the State. It is also likely the packages of work will be tendered under a traditional Public Private Partnership model with private finance.
The NSW Government expects to complete the business case for the Western Harbour Tunnel by mid-2018.
The NSW Government also committed $77 million towards geotechnical investigations for the projects which started in April 2017 and involve the drilling of 235 boreholes across the combined route of the projects. Coffey and AECOM are conducting the investigations.
The 2017-18 NSW Budget allocated $103 million towards planning works for the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link, plus $1.1 billion of the Restart NSW fund will be reserved for the Western Harbour Tunnel and the F6 Corridor extension project.
In November 2017, a State Significant Infrastructure Application (SSIA) was lodged to identify topics that must be assessed in any future Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The 2018-19 NSW Budget allocated $556.2 million over the forward estimates towards planning and early works for the Beaches Link and Western Harbour Tunnel projects. A further $549 million was allocated to enabling works for the Western Harbour Tunnel in the 2018-19 NSW Budget Half-Yearly Review.
In the July 2018 Project update, the NSW Government announced that both the Western Harbour Tunnel and the Beaches Link would be tolled, along with indicating the Tunnel contract would include the Warringah Freeway Upgrade.
Detailed Designs in the Project Update indicate the Tunnel project will include a 6.5 kilometres long six-lane tunnel as well as nine kilometres of surface road upgrades, four kilometres of which comprises the Warringah Freeway Upgrade.
The Western Harbour Tunnel will run from the WestConnex Rozelle Interchange to the Warringah Freeway north of Ernest Street. The preferred method for constructing the tunnels involves using multiple road header machines, with the sections under Sydney Harbour to be immersed tube tunnels.
The Warringah Freeway Upgrade will extend from the northern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Willoughby Road, and will optimise traffic flow, reducing the number of merge points along with introducing a southbound bus lane. The Upgrade will also improve Ridge Street and Ernest Street bridges.
Subject to planning approvals and finalisation of financing and procurement arrangements, the NSW Government expects construction of both Beaches Link and Western Harbour Tunnel to start in 2020, with both tunnels open to traffic by 2026.
Early works are expected to start in 2018 around the Warringah Freeway and Rozelle Interchange.
The NSW Government will conduct community engagement on the detailed designs until November 2018 after which the EIS will be prepared. The EIS will include detailed location of tunnels, portals, ventilation facilities and construction sites along with detailed assessment of proposed construction and operation activities, including cumulative impacts.
Infrastructure Australia lists the project as a Priority Initiative in its Infrastructure Priority List with a long term delivery timescale (10-15 years).
Last reviewed: 01/02/2019