The Western Harbour Tunnel will create a western bypass of the central business district (CBD) and take pressure off the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Anzac Bridge and Western Distributor. It is expected to cut a journey from Olympic Park to North Sydney by 13 minutes.
The Beaches Link will, for the first time, provide a motorway link between the Northern Beaches and the rest of Sydney, reducing the travel time from Brookvale to the CBD by 27 minutes and saving 41 minutes on a trip from Dee Why to the airport.
New South Wales (NSW) Minister for roads, maritime and freight Melinda Pavey said the NSW government had committed AU$550m (£310m) to the projects in the recent budget. The final cost will be determined when a final design and financing options from the private sector have been finalised.
NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said since announcing a preferred route last year the NSW government has listened to the community. It has improved the locations for the ventilation outlets, reduced the number of properties to be acquired to 37 and sought to minimise construction impacts.
“We want to be up front with the community now and say the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link will be tolled, but as always there will be a free alternative,” said Pavey.
The detailed design will now be subject to community consultation until November, with feedback to be taken on board to refine the design, ahead of the planning assessment phase.
Early works on the projects are expected to start later this year. Major construction is due to begin in 2020 - subject to planning approvals and finalised financing and procurement - with the tunnels expected to open to traffic by 2026.