Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link

Project Status

On the 29 January 2020 the NSW Government put on public exhibition the detailed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Western Harbour Tunnel and Warringah Expressway Upgrade. The public exhibition period was extended and closed on 30 March 2020.

Please 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 a number of 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 several thousand pages. It is available at:



TfNSW held five drop-in information sessions in Feb/March 2020. A Special Precinct meeting was held in Feb 2020 (126KB), organised by Registry Precinct and supported by Bay, Hayberry and Waverton Precincts.


More Information

For more about the project, or to have your say, contact 1800 931 189, email whtbl@rms.nsw.gov.au, or visit www.rms.nsw.gov.au/whtbl



In March 2017, the NSW Government announced a preferred route for the WHBTL, the start of geological drilling, notifications to property owners, and the commencement of a consultation process for the delivery of two proposed projects:

  • WHTBL tunnel will connect to the Warringah Freeway, cross under Middle Harbour connecting with the Burnt Bridge Creek Deviation at Balgowlah.
  • The Wakehurst Parkway will be upgraded to two lanes each way between Seaforth and French's Forest.

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.

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 advised that it lodged an application with the Department of Planning and Environment (DP&E) for the WHBTL project 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 proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link (WHTBL).

Project Update - July 2018 proposed reference design map

The following project updates provide details of where the one/off ramps, ventilation stacks, and work sites will be located:

Western Harbour Tunnel project update - July 2018 (7MB)

Beaches Links project update - July 2018 (7MB)

Community information sessions were held and feedback collected Nov-Dec 2018. RMS have advised that throughout the consultation period, 20 community engagements were held with over 2600 people attending. Meetings were also carried out with stakeholders including Council, community groups, schools, sporting associations and various special interest groups. RMS is currently in the process of reviewing more than 7300 submissions received and working on design improvements based on the feedback provided. RMS is yet to indicate whether they will present the results of the consultation process to Council.

RMS liaised with Council on several matters pertinent to this major project in preparation of the environmental assessment of the WHTBL. The environmental assessments are managed by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment and will be reviewed by the Department of Planning and Environment, NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, NSW Chief Health Officer and independent reviewer.


Council Position

Click here for full summary of related Council resolutions (328KB)

In November 2019, Council provided notification that an air quality monitoring station will be installed for 12 months within St Leonards Park to obtain a baseline of background air quality in North Sydney.

The North Sydney air quality monitoring station (AQMS) is located in the grounds of St Leonards Park, North Sydney.

Access the AQMS online here


Several locations were examined. St Leonards Park was chosen as it is fully compliant with Aus/NZ Standards (AS/NZS) 3580.1.1: 2016 Methods for sampling and analysis of ambient air Guide to siting air monitoring equipment. The other locations were not compliant with all the site measurement requirements of this standard. It is considered by the air quality consultant that this location will represent both regional and localised air quality due to the elevation of the monitoring location.


On 19 November 2018, Council resolved the following, from its resolution made on 25 June 2018:

  1. THAT Council undertake air quality monitoring in accordance with Option 1 outlined within the report for a period of 12 months with funding to be provided from the Environmental Levy/Environmental Reserve.
  2. THAT the General Manager be authorised to take any necessary action to promptly implement the air quality monitoring program.
  3. THAT the air quality monitoring be undertaken in the vicinity of Anzac Park Public School.

SLR Consulting Australia Pty Ltd (SLR) was commissioned by Council to provide advice on a proposed ambient air quality monitoring program to establish baseline air quality in North Sydney around the proposed location of the tunnel ventilation stack associated with the Western Harbour Tunnel and Warringah Freeway Upgrade. A report was prepared which advised on, amongst other matters, the pollutants to monitor for, and offers three options for carrying out an air quality monitoring program along with siting locations for the monitoring equipment. The options: Option 1 – Compliant Monitoring Station. Option 2 – Equivalent Monitoring Station. Option 3 – Non-Compliant Monitoring Station


At its meeting of 25 June 2018 Council resolved as follows:
  1. THAT Council note the report and endorse the urgent engagement of a specialist to scope an appropriate and cost effective air monitoring system prior to seeking tenders from relevant suppliers.

On 30 April 2018 the Council resolved (Min. No. 100) to withdraw its opposition to the proposed WHBTL and to work constructively with the State Government to negotiate outcomes from the project including the location of any interchange and filtration stacks and improved community infrastructure. Council resolved to take the following actions:

  1. THAT Council withdraw its opposition to the WHBTL .
  2. THAT Council writes to the Minister for Transport to clarify the status of the project.
  3. THAT Council seeks to work constructively with the State Government to negotiate outcomes from the project including the location of any interchange, the location of filtration stacks and improved community infrastructure in exchange for the disruption that the project will create.
  4. THAT Council gives in principle support for purchasing and installing Aeroqual (or equivalent) air quality monitoring equipment at locations likely to be affected by ventilation stacks proposed in conjunction with the such as near St Leonards Park and near any school likely to be affected.
  5. THAT a report come back to Council’s May meeting outlining all associated costs, suitable locations near proposed stacks, and the preferred supplier.
  6. THAT the Mayor and Deputy Mayor seek a meeting with the Premier Gladys Berejiklian to discuss the growing community concerns relating to the proposed ventilation stacks near Anzac Park School and Wenona School.
  7. THAT Council request a Briefing from the Chief Health Officer regarding the planning implications for the Tunnel.
  8. THAT the information, including real time monitoring data and reports, from air quality monitoring installed be made available to the community, including the Precinct System.

Council's response to DPE WHTBL Scoping Study and SEARS


Reply letter from the Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure, Mark Coure MP (1 September 2017), Ref. 00364369. (164KB)

Reply letter from the Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure, Mark Coure MP (23 October 2017), Ref. 00391954. (114KB)


Earlier on 22 May 2017 Council resolved (Min No 142):

  1. THAT Council seek a meeting with the Premier to reinforce Council’s view that a holistic transport plan be developed for northern Sydney.
  2. THAT Council ask the Premier to release detailed plans of the proposal, including details of which properties are to be acquired and what, if any, parks or other open space will be affected by the proposal.
  3. THAT Council ask the Premier to halt the project until meaningful community consultation about the whole project is undertaken and before any expressions of interest or tenders are let or contracts signed.
  4. THAT Council coordinate a community campaign and prepare a submission to the State Government supported by any additional expert reports on traffic, planning, impacts of pollution and air quality, noise and community attitudes collated via community engagement including focus groups in respect of the proposed tunnel in the context of the proposed B-Line and transport infrastructure and traffic flows in the North Sydney LGA.
  5. THAT Council allocate funds to the campaign.
  6. THAT any interested Councillor be permitted to observe any focus groups held.
  7. THAT the community engagement portion of the submission be completed and reported to the July Council meeting.
  8. THAT Council’s website include a reference to this project on the front page and that Council establish an email subscription facility to inform and update interested community members and all Precinct Committees.
  9. THAT Council refer this resolution to Mosman Council and invite Mosman Council to work with Council in relation to all of the matters outlined above.
  10. THAT this resolution be referred to Lane Cove and Willoughby Councils.

Council further resolved on 22 May 2017 (Min No 143): 

     21. THAT Council specifically include the B-Line as part of its community campaign in respect of the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel.    

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)


On 1 May 2017, Council resolved (Min No 137) to write to the Premier; the Minister for Transport; the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight; the Member for North Shore; the Greater Sydney Commission and Infrastructure Australia expressing its concerns regarding the WHBTL projects, and recommend that work on both projects be suspended until the Greater Sydney Commission, 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. That the letter includes a submission that the Government undertake a formal options assessment to address 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)


Earlier Consultation
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)

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.

Council conducted community consultation June-July 2017, using the following methods:

  • Survey
  • Submissions
  • Mapping Tool - pin point issues/concerns online
  • Focus Groups - a mix of randomly recruited and self-nominated residents participated in these sessions to ensure representation of a broad cross-section of the North Sydney community’s views.

The feedback was analysed by Council's appointed external consultant Straight Talk. The outcomes report was presented to the 24 July 2017 Council meeting.  

For more information email yoursay@northsydney.nsw.gov.au or call Council on 9936 8463.


Community Meetings 

Earlier, a number of Precinct Committees have jointly held community information sessions

Session 1 - July 2017

The Plateau Precinct - October 2017

Session 3 - March 2018

Session 4 - October 2018

A related report was presented to Council at its meeting on 30 October 2017 regarding Session 1 and 2 "Special Precinct meetings" with the NSW Government about transport infrastructure projects.

CiS11: Special Precinct Meetings - Transport Infrastructure Related Projects (275KB)

Posted on 1 April 2020

Back to Listing