NorthConnex tunnels to open in Sydney’s north-west, offering alternative route to Pennant Hills Road | The Canberra Times


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IT is the missing link that will allow motorists to avoid “the most hated road in Australia” and drive from Beresfield to Melbourne without encountering a single set of traffic lights. Finally, after five years of construction, the NorthConnex tunnels connecting the M1 and M2 motorways in Sydney’s north-west, will open on Saturday. The $3 billion project is about a year behind schedule, but for those who regularly travel on the existing link of Pennant Hills Road – the delay will quickly be forgotten. By using the twin nine-kilometre tunnels, which run between Wahroonga and West Pennant Hills, motorists will avoid 21 sets of traffic lights on Pennant Hills Road and save an estimated 15 minutes in travel time. If connecting with the M2 towards Sydney’s CBD, motorists will also bypass 40 sets of traffic lights on the Pacific Highway. Nightmare drives along Pennant Hills Road during school holidays and peak travel periods will be a thing of the past; if you’re willing to pay for it. The cost of using the NorthConnex will be $7.99 for cars and $23.97 for heavy vehicles. Travelling on the M2 and connecting to the M7 will add further tolls. The NSW government resisted calls from the Opposition to implement a toll-free period, pointing to eased congestion on the existing toll-free route once the tunnels open. At a ribbon-cutting ceremony inside one of the tunnels on Friday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said NorthConnex would “transform the way we move” “This is the culmination of years of planning and work,” she said. “Transurban came to the government some years back, with an unsolicited proposal, and said they had an idea to build a wonderful connection that would transform the way people move between the Central Coast and Sydney. “And here we are today.” __________________________________________________ Federal Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge said he had never seen more excitement about a new road “than the NorthConnex”. “This fixes one of the worst roads in Australia, being Pennant Hills Road, and a daily commuter will save 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon every single day. “Over the course of a year, that commuter will get a week of their life back as a result of this road.” Transport Minister Andrew Constance described NorthConnex as a “life-changer” that would ease congestion “the most hated road in Australia”. “It’s a life-changer for millions of people, and we shouldn’t lose sight of that,” he said. “Millions of people are going to travel through this tunnel every year, getting home quicker, [spending] more time with loved ones. “Those local communities, who are about 90 metres above us, their lives are going to change. “There’s 10 school communities set to benefit by not having trucks outside their school gates. The kids can cross the road much safer now.” Lying 90 metres below the surface at their deepest point, the NorthConnex tunnels are the deepest in Australia. They are expected to take about 5000 trucks off Pennant Hills Road every day. Heavy vehicles can no longer travel on Pennant Hills road. Drivers will be fined $194 if they do. Transurban CEO Scott Charlton acknowledged the “boldness of the NSW government” in proceeding with the project and thanked the community for their patience during construction.

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