Following community requests, Council recently resolved to conduct a community campaign to increase awareness of the impacts of the NSW Government’s Western Harbour Tunnel (WHT) and Warringah Freeway Upgrade projects.
While submissions in response to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) closed on 30 March 2020, it’s not too late to ask for the project to be changed and funding provided for mitigation measures.
Council has made a submission on the EIS, but we are just one voice.
Thousands of voices need to be heard if changes are to be made to the project.
This project will have a negative impact on our community - on your quality of life - from the air you breathe through to the level of traffic in local streets. The issue doesn’t just affect a few streets. All of the North Sydney LGA will be negatively impacted in some way. Read more and join the campaign now.
Project Status & Background
In March 2017, the NSW Government announced a preferred route for the project, the start of geological drilling, notifications to property owners, and the commencement of a consultation process.
The WHTBL will connect to the Warringah Freeway, cross under Middle Harbour connecting with the Burnt Bridge Creek Deviation at Balgowlah.
The Western Harbour Tunnel will connect to WestConnex at the Rozelle Interchange, cross underneath Sydney Harbour between the Birchgrove and Waverton areas and connect with the Warringah Freeway at North Sydney.
Preliminary plans indicated a surface interchange in the vicinity of the Warringah Freeway and Falcon Street/Military Road.
The Wakehurst Parkway will be upgraded to two lanes each way between Seaforth and French's Forest.
Investigative works commenced in May 2017, with up to 235 borehole sites tested along the preferred route. Further field included traffic analysis, noise and air quality monitoring, and flora, fauna and marine ecology studies.
In late 2017, RMS lodged an application with the Department of Planning and Environment (DP&E) for the WHBTL to be considered State Significant Infrastructure (SSI) by lodging a State Significant Infrastructure Application (SSIA).
The DP&E issued Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) for the project. The SEARs establish the subject matter that must be addressed and responded to in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
In July 2018 the NSW Government released the reference design for the WHTBL.
Project Update - July 2018 proposed reference design map
The following project updates provide details of the proposed one/off ramps, ventilation stacks, and work sites locations:
Western Harbour Tunnel project update - July 2018 (7MB)
Beaches Links project update - July 2018 (7MB)
Community information sessions were held Nov-Dec 2018. RMS advised that throughout the consultation period, 20 community engagements were held with over 2600 people attending. Meetings were also held with Council, community groups, schools, sporting associations and various special interest groups. Over 7300 submissions were received.
RMS liaised with Council on several matters pertinent to this major project in preparation of the environmental assessment of the WHTBL.
The detailed EIS for the Western Harbour Tunnel and Warringah Expressway Upgrade was publicly exhibited from 29 January to 30 March 2020.
Note: the EIS documentation does not include the 'Beaches Link' element of project. In November 2019 the NSW Government announced updates to the Proposed Reference Design for "Beaches Link", including several key construction sites and design features of the project. Because of the changes, it will take more time to finalise the Beaches Link EIS for public exhibition. It is expected to be available mid-2020.
The documentation is many volumes and totals 9,000 pages, it is available at:
For more about the project, or to have your say, phone 1800 931 189, email email@example.com, or visit www.rms.nsw.gov.au/whtbl
Click here for full summary of related Council resolutions (301KB)
- 6 April 2020 (rescheduled from 23 March 2020) - Council resolved to adopt its submission responding the EIS (which was lodged by the 30 March deadline); and to write to the NSW Premier seeking appropriate filtration of ventilation stacks, compensation for the temporary and permanent loss of amenity crated by the project, guarantee that there will be no permanent structures of any land returned to public space and prompt redesign of access point to the tunnel to ameliorate identified negative impacts to the North Sydney CBD.
- 24 February 2020 - Council resolved to the write to the NSW Premier and Minister for Planning & Open Spaces seeking a 2 month extension to the EIS submission deadline
- 26 August 2020 - Council resolved to accept the tender for air quality monitoring in the vicinity of the proposed WHTBL
- 25 June 2018 - Council resolved to engage a specialist to scope an appropriate and cost-effective air monitoring system, prior to seeking tenders.
- 30 April 2018 - Council resolved to withdraw its opposition to the project and to work constructively with the NSW Government to negotiate the location of any interchange and filtration stacks as well as improved community infrastructure; including a meeting with the NSW Premier and Chief Health Officer. Council also resolved in principle to support air quality monitoring at locations likely to be affected by the proposed ventilation stacks.
Council response to DPE WHTBL Scoping Study and SEARS (742KB)
Reply letter from the Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure, Mark Coure MP (1 Sep 2017), Ref. 00364369 (164KB)
Reply letter from the Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure, Mark Coure MP (23 Oct 2017), Ref. 00391954 (114KB)
- 22 May 2017 - Council resolved to request the NSW Premier halt the project until a holistic transport plan developed for northern Sydney; to request the release of the project’s detailed plans including properties to be acquired and parks or open space to be affected; and that community consultation be undertaken to inform Council’s submission to the NSW Government, supported by expert reports on traffic, planning, noise, pollution and air quality, and transport infrastructure and traffic flows in the North Sydney LGA.
MM03 North West Harbour Tunnel (76KB)
Council Letter to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier and Treasurer (114KB)
Council's Position - information sheet (2MB)
Background Information - presentation slides (2MB)
1 May 2017 - Council resolved to write to the NSW Premier; the Minister for Transport; the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight; the Member for North Shore; the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) and Infrastructure Australia expressing its concerns regarding the project, and recommend it be suspended until the GSC, in collaboration with Transport for NSW, undertake a robust options assessment that considers all possible solutions to the transport problems afflicting the Northern Beaches and the flow on effects on the Lower North Shore, including a holistic transport plan for the capacity issues from the Northern Beaches through to the Harbour Bridge.
CiS08 - WHBTL (946KB)
Council Letter to the Premier and Ministers responding to 1 May resolution (89KB)
Community Consultation conducted by Council
Council resolved 22 May 2017 to consult the community to ascertain attitudes regarding several State Government transport proposals. In particular, the Council wants to hear the community's attitudes towards the planned project, to inform the development of our submission to the State Government, which will present Council's vision for integrated transport within the North Sydney LGA. More information here
Council conducted community consultation June-July 2017. The feedback was analysed by Council's appointed external consultant Straight Talk. The outcomes report was presented to the 24 July 2017 Council meeting.
A Public Meeting was held on 26 July 2017. Approximately 300 people attended and some press. The meeting was facilitated by Professor Roberta Ryan and Margaret Harvie.
Council Position & Project Background presentation (656KB)
Dr Michelle Zeibots - transport planner presentation (4MB)
On 6 April 2020, following community requests, Council resolved to conduct another campaign to increase awareness of the impacts of the WHT and Warringah Freeway Upgrade. While submissions in response to the EIS closed on 30 March 2020, it’s not too late to ask for the project to be changed and funding provided for mitigation measures
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Council on 9936 8463.
Special Precinct Meetings
February 2020 (126KB)
A related report went to Council about further Special Precinct Meetings held with the NSW Govt about the project.
CiS11: Special Precinct Meetings - Transport Infrastructure Related Projects (275KB)