A 100 tonne roadheader begins cutting through Sydney sandstone this morning, marking the start of tunnelling on the second stage of the Western Harbour Tunnel.
Weighing as much as 27 adult African elephants, the roadheader has commenced its journey from Cammeray excavating south towards the Warringah Freeway and onwards towards the harbour at Waverton.
The Western Harbour Tunnel project will create almost 7000 jobs and eventually take traffic pressure off the Sydney Harbour Bridge and tunnel by linking the Warringah Freeway with the soon to open Rozelle Interchange.
It will save drivers up to 20 minutes between North Sydney and Sydney Olympic Park or Leichhardt.
The roadheader will cut through 1000 tonnes of rock a day, excavating a distance of 20 to 25 metres per week before a tunnel boring machine takes over to tunnel under the harbour.
Over the course of construction of stage 2 of the Western Harbour Tunnel, 10 roadheaders will be used.
Through the hard work of more than 800 workers involved in stage 2 to date, 23,000 tonnes of material has already been excavated and over 1482 cubic metres of concrete poured in preparation for tunnelling.
Western Harbour Tunnel is a 6.5km tunnel, which will provide motorists a seamless connection from Warringah Freeway at North Sydney to the Rozelle Interchange, making it easier, faster and safer to get around Sydney.
As the first new road crossing of the harbour in over 30 years, Western Harbour Tunnel will deliver time-saving benefits to motorists, easing traffic on some of Sydney’s key arterial roads.
The tunnel’s twin 3-lane motorways are expected to reduce traffic on the Western Distributor by 35%, the harbour tunnel by 20% and the harbour bridge by 17%.
Stage 1, which is already underway, involves creating the 1.7km southern section of the tunnel from Rozelle to Birchgrove and is expected to be complete in 2025.
Stage 2 includes construction of the northern end of the tunnel, connections to the Warringah Freeway, tunnelling underneath Sydney Harbour and the complete tunnel fit out and is expected to take approximately 5 years.
NSW Premier Chris Minns said:
“This is a milestone for the Western Harbour Tunnel project.
“This project will deliver almost 7000 jobs.
“Building this road, we will help ease congestion for drivers who use the harbour bridge, harbour tunnel, Anzac Bridge or Western Distributor.
“We’ll be keeping this important road in public hands.”
Minister for Roads John Graham said:
“The start of tunnelling at Cammeray is a major milestone for this project, bringing motorists a step closer to benefiting from Sydney’s third harbour crossing.
“The new Western Harbour Tunnel will provide time-saving benefits not only for those connecting to the Rozelle Interchange, but for motorists across Sydney’s wider road network.
“Once completed, the Western Harbour Tunnel is a critical part of the NSW Government’s plan to bring traffic relief to arterial roads in the Inner West, where we know that we will have traffic issues along the Western Distributor and Victoria Road.”