Large project causes concerns in Sydney
The Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link project will have a great impact on local environment during construction, reveals The Sydney Morning Herald and The ABClast weekend. In addition to the impact from a dozen construction sites, there are also concerns about contaminated sediments, high volume of truck movements in parks and recreation areas and risk to threatened species.
The Western Harbour Tunnel will connect to WestConnex at the Rozelle Interchange, cross under Sydney Harbour between the Birchgrove and Waverton areas and connect with the Warringah Freeway at North Sydney. Beaches Link is a tunnel which will connect to the Warringah Freeway, cross under Middle Harbour connecting with the Burnt Bridge Creek Deviation at Balgowlah and the Wakehurst Parkway. The project will also offer new connectivity with links to the Lane Cove Tunnel and M2 Motorway via a Gore Hill Freeway Connection.
The main reason for the new infrastructure investments in Sydney is the increasing traffic. Every year, congestion costs the economy $5 billion and this is forecast to increase to $8 billion a year by 2020 if nothing is done. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is Australia’s busiest road, carrying 165,000 vehicles every weekday. The bridge is vulnerable for incidents and breakdowns, and a major incident can delay traffic for over three hours and cause severe backlogs. The Spit Bridge is a four lane opening bridge in The Middle Harbour, and there are long road queues whenever the bridge opens for maritime traffic. Travel times on alternative roads around the bridge and Mosman in the morning peak can be as slow as 12 km/h. The project will improve traffic and reduce travel time by 40 - 45 minutes in several transport corridors in Sydney, and is of great importance for the future traffic situation in Sydney.
The latest concerns in the community is the great impact the project will have on local environment during construction. The project might require the disposal of more than 500,000 cubic metres of contaminated sediment in the White Bay in Sydney's inner west and parks on the north shore, alone. In addition to the impact from a dozen other construction sites, most of the parks in some areas will be subject to a high volume of truck movements each day. Reports also warns that sediment from the harbour bed can contain a raft of contaminants ranging from dioxins to heavy metals and pesticides. The project also poses a risk to more than 70 threatened species, such as turtles and little penguins, says The Sydney Morning Herald. The Sydney project is not just large in the context of a large new complex road network, but represent also major challenges in planning and due to construction.
The design phase began in April 2017 and is scheduled to be completed by mid-2018. The 14-kilometre 2-tube tunnel connecting Sydney’s inner west to the northern beaches could cost as much as $14 billion, $1 billion pr. kilometre.