New construction method for Western Harbour Tunnel averts pollution risk for Parramatta River
At the PRCG’s Full Group Committee meeting in June, Mark Russell, Senior Environment Manager with Transport for NSW Infrastructure, presented on changes to the construction of the Western Harbour Tunnel.
The original plan involved dredging the harbour to create a trench that would hold large, prefabricated tube segments, similar to the construction method used for the existing Harbour Tunnel. The new approach involves using two giant tunnel boring machines, featuring 16.5-metre wide cutter heads, to dig part of the motorway through the rock bed at a deeper level.
The NSW Government’s decision to change the method of construction was in response to significant community concerns, including a submission from the PRCG, regarding the disturbance of contaminated sediment in the harbour caused by dredging.
The government has indicated the works will not pose a significant risk to the surrounding marine environment and nearby Dawn Fraser Baths, which will remain open throughout construction. Additionally, two construction sites originally planned for the project will not be required, minimising the overall impact on the local community.
Due to open in 2028, the 6.5-kilometre tunnel will integrate with public transport and is expected to reduce travel times by 15-20 minutes. Learn more about the Western Harbour Tunnel | Follow the process