NorthConnex will open to motorists this weekend with the final tests and safety checks being completed on the $3 billion Sydney mega project that will change the way drivers travel across the city.
Sydney-siders will be able to bypass 21 sets of traffic lights between the M1 and M2 motorways, completing the long-awaited ‘missing link’ in the National Highway network.
The twin nine kilometre tunnels between the M1 at Wahroonga and M2 at West Pennant Hills will provide smoother and faster journeys along Pennant Hills Road and also mean bypassing 40 sets of lights if using the Pacific Highway as a route to the CBD.
It will save people up to 15 minutes in the morning and evening commute, boosting productivity and busting congestion, an official press release said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said NorthConnex had delivered thousands of jobs to support hard-working families and now motorists would benefit for generations to come.
“NorthConnex is a game-changing piece of infrastructure that will allow drivers to travel between Newcastle and Melbourne without stopping at a traffic light, and a complete bypass of suburban Sydney,” the Prime Minister said.
“This is one of the most significant and eagerly anticipated road infrastructure projects ever delivered in Australia.”
Premier of New South Wales Gladys Berejiklian said the project has been a major driver of employment, creating around 8,700 jobs for the state.
“The project is forecast to inject around $4 billion into the economy and is proof of the government’s strong commitment to deliver major infrastructure and jobs for the people of New South Wales,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Around 300 businesses from the Western Sydney area and another 50 from the Central Coast have also contributed to the project, highlighting the opportunities this project has created for local suppliers and contractors.”
Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said Sydney motorists will soon be experiencing the extraordinary benefits of the NorthConnex tunnels.
“NorthConnex is going to strip up to 5,000 trucks a day off the notorious Pennant Hills Road, which is one of the most congested roads in NSW,” Mr Tudge said.
“The safety benefits for so many families, getting people home safely at the end of each day, is immeasurable.”
New South Wales Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said NorthConnex reaches depths of up to 90 metres, making it Australia’s deepest road tunnel.
“Australian-first, innovative lighting displays will help keep drivers alert, with stunning starscapes, trees and native bird highlighting the transition from the rural environment of the north to the urban environment of the city,” Constance said.
“NorthConnex will see air quality improve around Pennant Hills Road, safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists, and a significant reduction in traffic noise – all issues local residents desperately wanted addressed.”
The Australian and NSW Governments have also thanked the more than 20,000 residents living along the corridor for their cooperation and patience throughout work on the project.
NorthConnex is a $3 billion project which includes $577.3 million from the NSW Government, $412.3 million from the Australian Government, and $2 billion from Transurban and its private sector partners.
NorthConnex tolls are in line with the M2, at $7.99 for cars and $23.97 for heavy vehicles.
Toll Relief will apply. Drivers who spend an average of $26 a week over a year are entitled to free registration. Drivers who spend an average of $16 a week over a year are entitled to half price registration.