Here is the first look at why truckies will be slugged $23.71 each time they use the NorthConnex tunnel in Sydney when it opens shortly.
Transurban and Transport for NSW today released a series of videos of what it looks like to use each section of the $3 billion roadway, with the proposed toll-free period by Labor looking increasingly unlikely.
Truckies who have a local destination off Pennant Hills Road can continue using the existing route without charge, however.
A vehicle transporting dangerous goods with a dangerous goods placard, or sign, and an oversize vehicle operating under a Class 1 permit, or notice approved to use Pennant Hills Road, are also exempt from having to travel in the tunnel.
All other drivers of trucks over 12.5m long, or over 2.8m clearance height, must head into the tunnel and if caught flouting the rules will be fined $191 (no demerit points).
New South Wales Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said drone and dash cam vision was used in the videos to simulate the journeys truckies can expect when NorthConnex opens in coming weeks.
“NorthConnex will connect the M1 in Wahroonga to the Hills M2 via twin nine‑kilometre tunnels. We want to show drivers how they can use Sydney’s next underground motorway before it opens to traffic,” said Constance.
“Whether you’re a Central Coast commuter, a family planning their next Hunter Valley holiday or a truck driver making a delivery to Blacktown, these videos show exactly how you can safely reach your destination by using NorthConnex.
“Drivers will get behind-the-wheel views of the tunnels thanks to the eight new videos which you can now watch on the NorthConnex website.”
NorthConnex, will take up to 5,000 trucks off Pennant Hills Road each day, slashing up to 15 minutes off travel time during peak periods.
Drivers will also avoid 40 sets of traffic lights on the Pacific Highway or 21 sets of traffic lights between the M1 and the M2.
Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said NorthConnex provided an economic boost for Sydney, supporting thousands of jobs throughout construction.
“Soon Sydney motorists will reap the benefits of this mega-project each and every day that they travel to work, and home,” Tudge said.
“The Morrison Government has backed NorthConnex from the beginning and it will be a game-changer when it opens to motorists.”
Federal Member for Berowra Julian Leeser said the NorthConnex tunnels are a big improvement on other tunnels in Sydney.
“We all remember news stories about tunnel heights being too low and large trucks getting stuck at the entrance, and when incidents like that happen the traffic slows to a halt for miles and people are late getting to their destinations,” Leeser said.
“The NorthConnex tunnel will have a height of 5.1 metres, which will help avoid over-height incidents and allow free flow of traffic.”
“NorthConnex will take pressure off our local roads and improve community safety.”
Transport for NSW Chief Operations Officer Howard Collins said the new videos help drivers become familiar with NorthConnex before their first journey.
“We want motorists to take note of the new entry and exit points, where they will navigate new movements and how the motorway connects to the broader road network,” Mr Collins said.
“NorthConnex is in the final stages of operational testing and software commissioning and expected to open in the coming weeks.”
Transurban NSW Group Executive Michele Huey said NorthConnex would open with two lanes in each direction and provide the quickest route between the M1 and M2 Motorways, taking around eight minutes.
“It’s the missing link in the National Highway route motorists have been wanting for decades, allowing motorists to drive from Newcastle to Melbourne without passing a single set of traffic lights,” Ms Huey said.
The project is jointly funded with the Australian Government committing $412.3 million and the New South Wales Government $577.3 million, with remaining costs met by the private sector. NorthConnex will support up to 8,700 direct and indirect jobs over the life of the project, said Transport for NSW.