Tunnelling charges ahead at NorthConnex northern interchange

Media Release

PF044/2017

08 September 2017

Joint release with:

Andrew Constance

NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure

Julian Leeser

Federal Member for Berowra

Matt Kean

NSW Member for Hornsby

Tunnelling on NorthConnex is charging ahead, with a new addition to the roadheader fleet now chewing through rock beneath the city to build the project's twin nine-kilometre tunnels.

Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher said the additional roadheader would deliver a free-flowing freeway link between the M1 Pacific Motorway at Wahroonga and the Hills M2 Motorway at West Pennant Hills as soon as possible, saving motorists up to 15 minutes travel time and bypassing 21 sets of traffic lights.

“Tunnelling for the $3 billion project is happening 24 hours a day, with all 20 roadheaders now in the ground excavating across the project's four tunnelling sites,” Mr Fletcher said.

Federal Member for Berowra Julian Leeser said the 20th roadheader would join the five already in operation at the northern interchange compound in Wahroonga, meaning tunnelling can now be carried out simultaneously in every direction.

“This roadheader has been named Claire in honour of the northern interchange Compound Tunnel Director's wife, which is a tunnelling tradition. The naming of the 20th roadheader brings us one step closer to the delivery of NorthConnex which will take 5,000 trucks off Pennant Hills Road every day,” Mr Leeser said.

New South Wales Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said the Northern Interchange was one of the project's most complex areas of work.

“Delivering the northern interchange requires careful planning as it includes the tunnel on and off ramps for Pennant Hills Road, as well as the entrance and exit points for the M1 motorway,” Mr Constance said.

New South Wales Member for Hornsby Matt Kean said surface work was progressing well as the project team prepares to move M1 Pacific Motorway traffic onto a newly created section of road to gain access to what will be the tunnel entry and exit points.

“Claire will be busy underground, excavating up to five metres a day and has been given the challenging task of tunnelling beneath the North Shore Rail Line. In the meantime, an underground bridge is also being built where the Pennant Hills Road off ramp crosses above the mainline tunnel,” Mr Kean said.

Construction on NorthConnex started in February 2015 and is due for completion in late 2019, weather permitting.

The Australian and New South Wales governments have each committed $412.33 million towards the $3 billion project.

For more information on NorthConnex, visit northconnex.com.au.