It’s been in the works since 2015, but the NorthConnex tunnel that will connect the M1 at Wahoonga with the M2 Motorway at West Pennant Hills is almost ready to open! Take a look at the first drive through of this 9 kilometre tunnel under Pennant Hills Road.
On Monday, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the Premier of NSW took part in the first official end-to-end drive through of the NorthConnex tunnel.
Watch the NorthConnex Tunnel Drive Through
Where is the NorthConnex tunnel?
NorthConnex is a nine kilometre tunnel which will link the M1 Pacific Motorway at Wahroonga to the Hills M2 Motorway at West Pennant Hills. Once complete, it will save commuters up to 15 minutes’ travel time while they avoid more than 20 sets of traffic lights along Pennant Hills Road.
When will NorthConnex open?
The twin tunnel motorway is expected to open in the third quarter (between July and September) of 2020.
It’s seems finished, so why can’t it open now?
Projects of this size and scale are extremely complex. More than 300 specialist trades, designers, engineers and project managers are working together to build an asset that will provide motorists with a safer and more efficient journey.
There’s still extensive testing of systems that needs to be conducted in the tunnel, so we still have a couple more months to wait!
What are the benefits?
- Faster, safer, more reliable and more efficient journeys
- Return local roads to our community
- Improve air quality along Pennant Hills Road
- Reduce congestion and noise
- Take 5000 trucks off Pennant Hills Road every day
And what about the lighting inside?
The tunnel will feature backlit silhouettes of birds, trees and stars to provide visual interest for road users travelling between the Hills M2 Motorway and M1 Pacific Motorway.
NorthConnex Project Director, Daniel Banovic, explained how the lighting will improve safety for drivers. “International research has demonstrated that in monotonous road environments, it is important to provide subtle stimulants to keep drivers alert and focussed. This can be through gentle curves in the road and visual displays. NorthConnex is incorporating a series of contemporary internal lighting features never before seen in Australia to keep drivers engaged as they travel through the nine kilometre tunnel.”
- Entrance portals – motorists will pass swooping flocks of native Australian bird silhouettes resembling eagles, cockatoos, galahs, and lorikeets.
- Northbound tunnel (from West Pennant Hills to Wahroonga) – will include sections of backlit forest silhouettes, accompanied by organic patterned panelling, reflecting the journey to Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park.
- Southbound tunnel (from Wahroonga to West Pennant Hills) – will include starscape and speedlines lighting displays, which will be complemented by geometric panels symbolising the transition from the rural environment of the north, to the urban environment of the city.
Explore the route
- View the NorthConnex tunnel alignment here.
- View the M2 Integration map here.
- See the tunnel depth here.