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.
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.