WestConnex mid-point tunnel in Leichhardt

I have been working with local residents to protect against the proposal for a mid-point tunnel for the WestConnex project in Leichhardt. The two sites proposed were at the Dan Murphy's site in Darley Road and land adjacent to the Sydney Secondary College Leichhardt Campus.

Working with Leichhardt Against WestCONnex (LAW), we consulted the community and found both sites equally unsuitable.

The announcement that the Derbyshire Road site in Leichhardt will not be taken forward as the location for the WestConnex mid-point tunnel is welcome. However, the government needs to rule out the Darley Road site as equally unsuitable.

Download, print and sign our Parliamentary petition here.

Details of the sites

Here's some more information about what a mid-point tunnel site would involve:

  • This construction site is at the approximate mid way of the WestConnex tollway. A boring machine would work from this point to excavate the tunnel where spoil (the material they will be digging up) will be removed to another location.
  • The site would remain for up to four years.
  • It would involve hundreds of movements of heavy vehicles, spoil trucks and contractor vehicles.
  • Hours would be 7am-6pm weekdays, 8am-1pm Saturdays, with some night work.
  • The site would consist of a 500 metre incline and an underground tunnel being excavated in two directions.
  • Trucks would be driving in and out throughout the day to dump soil.
  • Extensive car parking for workers would be needed (the larger Concord tunnelling site has 250 car spaces).
  • Sydney Motorways Corporation has stated that the site will be contained within an acoustic shed, but an engineer working for the Inner West Council in consultation with LAW has stated that in the Darley Road site, the uphill slope will still cause sound to carry.
  • LAW has highlighted that the Derbyshire Road site acquisition will affect bus operations and raise health and safety issues for bus drivers.
  • A site on Derbyshire Road would involve the movement of heavily contaminated soil.
  • The site will greatly impact the use of Balmain Road for those accessing or crossing the City West Link and place students traveling by car, foot and bicycle at risk.
  • The site on Darley Road has long been acknowledged by Council as traffic black spot and highly congested. This site also suffers from flooding.
  • Darley Road is an arterial road and the 'spine' of Leichhardt. It is accessed by users across the Inner West to cross or enter the City West Link. Any further congestion of this road will lead to  traffic chaos.


Here are some photographs of existing WestConnex tunnelling sites in locations such as Haberfield, Concord and St Peters:




Images: WestConnex on Twitter

This is yet another example of the kind of planning on the run which has been characteristic of the WestConnex project since the start. The whole project should be scrapped, as this latest development once again shows.

The government put up two equally unsuitable options, which were meant to turn the people of Leichhardt against each other. That's why we need to let them know that our community stands together.

The project manager has said that is not absolutely necessary to have a mid-point tunnel in Leichhardt if no appropriate sites can be found. So there is an opportunity for tunnelling not to proceed at all.

The Inner West Council appointed an independent engineer who suggested the western side of the light rail corridor as a tunnel site, so that access could be via the City West Link rather than residential streets. More effort needs to be made to investigate this option and avoid the disruption to traffic and inconvenience to local residents associated with the other two proposed sites.

Sign our parliamentary petition

Please download our Parliamentary petition stating that both the land next to the school and the previously proposed Darley Road site are unacceptable, print it out and ask your friends and neighbours to sign it.

Once we have 500 signatures, I will table it in the NSW Parliament and the Minister for WestConnex must give us a reply within 35 days.

Once you’ve signed, you can post it back to me free of charge at Reply Paid 84125, Glebe NSW 2037 or drop it into my office at 112a Glebe Point Road, Glebe.

Print a poster for your window or yard 

Download a printable poster for your window or front yard here.

Showing 9 reactions

  • Diana Ridoutt
    commented 2017-04-06 09:48:12 +1000
  • Loretta Picone
    commented 2017-03-22 08:40:54 +1100
    I do not consider sufficient investment has been taken to give priority to excellent traffic modelling of exits, pollution effects, nor to ensuring public transport is maximised and optimal. I oppose the idea of Westconnex providing another cost to tax payers without demonstrably meeting public transport and access needs FIRST and FOREMOST.

    Westconnex does not meet this currently and therefore i consider it a waste of tax payers money and resources. What is vital is to ensure any changes will serve the community for more affordable, sustainable, and accessible mass public transportation. The huge vacant railway yards runs in this length and right up to the anzac bridge, and it should be committed to being a vital part of the solution of this design -for the public good.

    I am sick of hearing about easy way out solutions that benefit developers and not the community that they are paid to serve! I refuse any more developers cashing in with inappropriate housing, and private income generating tunnels, and basically government allowing the public to be ripped off.

    Carriages works site is a recent UrbanRenewel project that I am disgusted by. I was told late last year by a resident tenant that the ‘supported housing’ (very small) block requires tenants to be earning $90,000 to $120,000! What a joke! This poor civic plan demonstrates not a meeting of social targets but more about making sure land owners are guaranteed their return than anything to do with mixed and affordable housing. Most people I ask say income should be set at at least under $45,000 to really address low income affordability.

    Harold Park and the Tramsheds is the latest example in my neighbourhood where the public were NOT well served by allowing this development. It basically shuts out middle to lower incomes, and is not suitable to raising families nor healthy diversity. Most of those who go are either affluent professionals or self funded wealthy retirees, or couples with babies…. no one else can afford to go there! It was designed in a way that shuts out many who live in the immediate vicinity e.g. Glebe, Annandale etc. Yet it reaps heaps of public advantages, e.g. existing public transport and huge wonderful parkland it sits within. So developers got the advantage but not provided community benefits! I FEEL RIPPED OFF!

    I refer to these above residential developments because I totally fail to understand why the Rail yards that lead to White Bay and the White Bay region is not the focal point for GREAT public transport infrastructure, for affordable public housing, for community oriented services, and free public greenspaces. The survey I recently filled out about this area smacked with biased questions about sport and recreation needs that seemed to be lining up how many private gyms or courts or the like – nothing to do with publicly affordable and community accessible and needed (always delivers expensive services). "Sports’ needs were all indoor sports that were income earning, not enabling affordable public access. What about art and open passive recreation spaces or bicycle paths – I didn’t hear them ask about that?! I reckon maybe developers don’t want a tunnel under these areas to undermine their profits. NO WAY should public resources and assets and land be used unless there is demonstrated a powerful design to enhance the public needs and return the social fabric – social sustainability. If Google can help with that… and if it cannot, l am sure that many other more suitable tenancies can be found – we have by world standards a globally unique opportunity to make White Bay enhance Sydney community and transport.

    ENOUGH of ripping the diversity out of Sydney! I refuse to endorse or have any more of my tax payers moneys spent one ill advised projects. DO YOUR CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY – design projects that demonstrate how they are to achieve social strategic targets. If they don’t, do not spend another cent of public purse.
  • steve hall
    commented 2017-03-14 10:14:08 +1100
    It’s all very well saying what we don’t want – but what do we want?

    And what do we want that’s practical? let’s face it, all the protesting in the world and all the whinging about corruption and so on isn’t going to stop a project that the government has committed to, spent billions on and has demolished houses and disrupted many lives already.

    So saying “neither site is suitable” – which is true – isn’t enough. And people affected at one site saying “not me, eat him” just weaken any effective action.

    I live very close to the Darley Road site and it certainly isn’t suitable due to lack of parking, blockage of a very busy road, blocked access to the light rail, noise, dust, compo to Woolies and so on.

    But I’m not going to say “choose the other site” because there are very valid reasons why it isn’t suitable too (although in my rather biased opinion it’s less unsuitable than Darley Road).

    So if the project isn’t going to be abandoned, which it isn’t, and the two sites are unsuitable, which they are, what exactly are we proposing as a solution?

    Any protest that doesn’t offer an alternative is doomed.

    I don’t want to go down to a valiant defeat, even though I sometimes think that’s the Greens’ modus operandi (as with Climate Change and a Carbon Tax, which the Greens sunk a few years back by preferring noble defeat to a compromised victory).

    So if we are to have any chance of actually succeeding in getting these two sites we need an alternative that is demonstrably better in terms of better access, less affect on residents, etc.

    I don’t know where such a site would be (although the park the other side of the light rail wouldn’t affect so many residents) but unless we find one we have no chance.

    If Jamie Parker and the Greens can come up with a constructive suggestion here that all Leichhardt residents can get behind that would be an excellent starting point.
  • Robert Moore
    commented 2017-03-11 13:56:42 +1100
    I hope the Innerwest Council will do some traffic modelling on this, and maybe closing Hathern wouldn’t make that much difference to overall traffic flows. It was considered about 15 years ago when the car dock closed at White Bay and the car carrying semis disappeared. Many residential benefits if it was closed. Chance to test it if they did decide to use Dan Murphys and Darley Rd was closed or partially closed.
  • Calogero Panvino
    commented 2017-03-11 10:52:19 +1100
    Dear Robert, with all due respect, you are obviously not aware of the traffic buildup along Milton/Frederick streets.
  • Robert Moore
    commented 2017-03-03 21:11:07 +1100
    Surely they can find a barn elsewhere to flog alcohol from and use the Dan Murphys site. Won’t do any harm to shut Tebbutt St at Hathern St, and keep it shut, as it is mostly rat runners using Foster St and Darley Rd. Traffic can use Milton/Frederick/CWL instead. Better than using the site near the school. Or why not use the Goods Yard area. It’s about half way too.
  • Diana Ryall
    commented 2017-03-03 17:46:36 +1100
    This school needs playground not a construction site. When will the education of our children take priority over development? Both sites are inappropriate. Has anyone looked at the traffic chaos over the Anzac Bridge already. Westconnex is not the right solution bringining additional traffic to the Anzac Bridge. It should be channelled to the southern edge of the city.
  • Jim Medcraft
    commented 2017-03-03 09:48:09 +1100
    I love a block away from the dan Murphy’s my spine was broken last year when I was hit by a car, I now rely upon a mobility scooter to get around, with access to the light rail I have some freedom and ability to get arpund, the hill is too steep for me to get up to the other light rail entry and if they build on the dan Murphy’s site it will cut me off from access to light rail and my ability to get anywhere else in the city, I hate the way the media is so bias against using the bus depot site, because that’s what it is, yes it’s next to the school but it’s just using land in bus terminal not that much impact, the Dan Murphy’s was pushed through fast here and not really designed to take full advantage of it’s location for example not connecting it’s car park to the light rail stop even though there is only a step between them. The economics of the size of the dan Murphy’s does not really make sense for size and location.

    Woolworths knew that the site was being considered by government we saw westconnex people drilling soil samples around April / may last year long before the Dan Murphy’s renovation, this is why they are pushing the narrative about the other site being a school so that the government can kickback taxpayer money to Woolworths. The level of corruption in the liberal government is so high that it doesn’t sound like an outrageous claim.
  • Sue Lindsay
    commented 2017-03-02 13:48:40 +1100
    We don’t want West Connex anyway- we need better public transport

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