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Australia NSW government seeks private partner for second harbour tunnel

03:47  31 july  2020
03:47  31 july  2020 Source:   smh.com.au

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The NSW Government has revealed a preferred route for the Beaches Link and Western Harbour tunnels . NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it had taken two years to make this project a reality. “The NSW Government is committed to delivering this important project which will reduce congestion

NSW government officials are progressing plans to build something premier Gladys Berejiklian has been keen to speak about; the proposed new Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link Roads and Maritime NSW . Sources said the government was also seeking an accounting firm to help with

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The NSW government will seek a private sector partner to assist in the delivery of a second road tunnel under Sydney Harbour, pushing ahead with the multibillion-dollar project despite growing community opposition.

Construction on the Western Harbour Tunnel is not expected to begin until 2022 at the earliest, but Transport for NSW has confirmed the government is on the hunt for a "development partner" to assist with the procurement and delivery of the twin 6.5 kilometre tunnels.

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the name of the toll road you were travelling on (Sydney Harbour Bridge/Sydney Harbour Tunnel ). your toll notice number. If you've received a toll notice from another operator other than Transport for NSW , please refer to the toll notice for payment options.

A Transport for NSW spokesman added on Thursday that the government had decided on a "state-led procurement and delivery process" after engagement with industry.

"We'll be seeking expressions of interest from industry to leverage private sector expertise such as innovative ideas and approaches to procurement and delivery," the spokesman said.

They said potential involvement of a development partner would focus on procurement and delivery structures and not the financing of the project, with the process likely to begin in coming days.

"Project costs will only be finalised when construction contracts have been awarded," the spokesman said.

The government also confirmed that TfNSW was seeking expressions of interest for the upgrades to the Warringah Freeway, one of the country's busiest roads, which the new tunnel will flow into.

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The NSW opposition is demanding the government recalculate the cost-benefit analysis of the tunnel before it embarks on the build, arguing the coronavirus crisis' impact on population growth and traffic movement must be factored into the overall cost.

"We are asking whether the project's benefits have been impacted by the current crisis and the change in travel patterns in Sydney, and calling for the benefit-cost ratio to be recalculated," opposition roads spokesman John Graham said on Thursday.

"The world has changed, people are working from home and migration has fallen. The government should spell out its plan to avoid the tight construction market conditions that they have blamed for previous transport project cost over-runs."

Plans for the second harbour tunnel has sparked fierce local backlash on both sides of the harbour, with locals voicing environmental, health and traffic concerns with the plan.

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A petition of more than 11,000 signatures was presented to NSW Parliament on Thursday, with much of the opposition coming from Premier Gladys Berejiklian's own electorate of Willoughby.

The tunnels will be built in a trench on the harbour floor, and large pre-fabricated concrete tubes lowered into place from barges above.

The state's port authority has previously highlighted "gaps" in the environmental report about contaminated spoil from the harbour floor.

Macquarie Equities analyst Ian Myles said the government was likely pushing back a decision on how it would fund the massive project.

"I would interpret this as the decision to fund is being pushed out, so the government is effectively taking (the) funding risk at this point in time until they go and sell the concession or borrow against the Harbour Bridge," Mr Myles said.

"The revenue from the Harbour Bridge is a significant source of capital to fund the expansion of the Western Harbour Tunnel, and it's a logical thing to do."

Construction of the new tunnel has been separated from the subsequent Beaches Link, though the combined price has been estimated at more than $14 billion.

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A new crossing of Sydney Harbour involving twin tunnels connecting WestConnex at Rozelle and the existing Warringah Freeway at North Sydney, and upgrade of the Warringah Freeway to connect with the Beaches Link and the Gore Hill Freeway Connection. Current Status: Response to Submissions.

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The new tunnel will extend from an underground junction for the WestConnex toll road at Rozelle to the Warringah Freeway at North Sydney, and eventually on to the Beaches Link onto Balgowlah and Seaforth in the city's northeast.

An environmental report released earlier this year warned the complex upgrades would result in sections of the freeway, used by as many as 250,000 vehicles a day, being shut overnight.


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