Beaches Link tunnel delay puts residents’ lives in limbo

Northern Beaches mayor Michael Regan acknowledged that the Beaches Link was “dividing the community”, but was unimpressed by the decision to postpone it.

“Generally speaking, the community will not be happy. We hold the government to its promise that they will deliver. I want some prep work to start,” he said.

The seven kilometer Beaches Link tunnels will extend from Balgowlah and Seaforth to the Warringah Freeway in North Sydney, where the toll road will connect to the Western Harbor Tunnel.

Suggested route of the Western Harbor Tunnel and Beaches Link.

Suggested route of the Western Harbor Tunnel and Beaches Link.Credit:Roads and Maritime NSW

Opponents have criticized the project over plans to bulldoze houses, take over Balgowlah Golf Club for a construction site and excavate contaminated sediment from the bottom of Middle Harbor for the road tunnel.

Robinson said the decision to abandon the project had raised hopes that her family would be able to purchase their home.

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‘Cause I mean, what’s the government going to do now that they’ve got all those houses they’ve bought? They’ll have to sell it, won’t they?”

Rowan Romuld, a resident of Dudley Street whose home was slated to be demolished, said he was preparing to move to North Manly despite the project being delayed.

“We feel like it’s done and dusted. We moved on,’ Romuld said.

‘That’s the government. Things come and go and projects get on board and projects get canceled. And that’s just the way it is.”

Romuld initially said he was excited at the prospect of the government buying him out of his house for seven years, but the process “wasn’t fun”.

“It felt absolutely unfair. I don’t necessarily feel it was valued fairly.”

Perrottet's government says it remains committed to the construction of the highway to ease congestion on Military Road.

Perrottet’s government says it remains committed to the construction of the highway to ease congestion on Military Road.Credit:Brook Mitchell

Mosman Mayor Carolyn Corrigan said the Lower North Coast City Council was “deeply disappointed” that the project had been halted as it was intended to ease long-term congestion on Spit Bridge and Military Road.

“While the council respects the independent recommendation, we urge the NSW Government to continue to look for alternative solutions, such as strengthening transport links between Dee Why and Chatswood.”

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In his comments to the HeraldAt last week’s Infrastructure Summit, Perrottet also said residents of the northern beaches should “definitely” be willing to accept a higher density if the project is built.

Infrastructure and Cities Minister Rob Stokes, MP for Pittwater, said the highway would be “modified for the growth that has already taken place”.

Regan said the council would fight tooth and nail on any attempt to increase housing density.

“Any government or opposition that tried to do that would have an absolute nightmare dealing with us,” he said.

Corrigan said further lifting of housing targets in Mosman would be inappropriate.

The Beaches Link was expected to be completed in 2027-28. Leaked government documents in 2017 estimate the combined cost of building the Western Harbor Tunnel and Beaches Link at $14 billion.

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