We’re not there yet, but the Northern Beaches is edging closer to the promised Beaches Link Tunnel and second Harbour Crossing.
The $8 billion tunnel, which will bypass 19 sets of traffic lights at The Spit, Mosman and Neutral Bay, will connect with Warringah Freeway and the planned Western Harbour Tunnel.
Although recent mixed messages from State Government reports suggest the project is not necessarily a “near-term priority”, preparatory work is continuing, including high level consultation with the project team.
Consultation is set to continue with the release of the tunnel reference design in the middle of this year, after which work will start on the Environmental Impact Statement process.
These reports will be made public with extensive community consultation, including several information sessions to be held during the course of this year. Members of the public will be able to make submissions on any aspect of the project.
Manly Ward Councillor Sarah Grattan said Roads and Maritime Services, which is responsible for the project, has already taken account of input from the community, local MP James Griffin and Northern Beaches Council. Issues under consideration include placement of the tunnel access portal on Wakehurst Parkway, extra transport services at Balgowlah and better use of green space near Burnt Bridge Creek.
Good For Manly President and Northern Beaches Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham said she was pleased with the consultation process so far.
“It is clear that RMS is listening to the concerns and alternative solutions raised by members of our community with senior RMS staff, and I would encourage everyone to go to the community meetings later this year,” she said. “But don’t forget that Beaches Link Tunnel is not a Council project - it’s a State project, and although the Council does have a seat at the table, it’s the State Government that has the final say.”
As for media reports that the tunnel has been put on the back burner, Cr Bingham said that was not the message from local MPs or the Premier.
“I know a lot of people are sceptical about the tunnel, but so far things are going as promised,” she said. “The council is listening to the politicians, rather than journalists or bureaucrats, and the politicians are saying the Beaches Link Tunnel is a priority and it’s going ahead.”
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.