BEACHES LINK TUNNEL UPDATE
Council staff have now signed the confidentiality papers with RMS regarding the detailed design work on the tunnel at the Northern Beaches end.
Councillors will not be privy to the detail prior to the release of the reference design, however our expert staff will be able to work on local impacts and community concerns.
The upside to this is that Councillors will be free to advocate and make representations on behalf of our community should we disagree with the reference design once released. The RMS have been complimentary about the constructive manner in which the community has engaged so far, particularly Marco, Neil and Ian’s representations from the North Balgowlah Tunnel Facebook page.
Other feedback is that the community, MP (James Griffin) & NB Council has influenced the design and that:
* the idea of extending the Portal connection along Wakehurst Parkway has been developed by the RMS project team and is under active consideration
* inclusion of additional integrated transport services at Balgowlah is being investigated by Transport for NSW
* likely inclusion of contiguous green space near burnt bridge creek for improved cycleways and active transport
* grade separated fauna crossings will be a feature of the Wakehurst Parkway design, the design continues to be refined
* RMS are highly complimentary at community involvement on N Beaches for their constructive input that is being taken seriously and improving outcomes
* The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process is expected to commence in the second half of 2018, after release of the reference design. This will be placed on public exhibition with extensive community engagement continuing across 2018
* The project team is continuing to work towards releasing additional project information, including details of the tunnel portals, by the middle of 2018
I appreciate that we all want the detailed information about the route and how lives, homes and amenity may be affected if this project is cleared to go ahead. We have been super patient with RMS during this preparation phase of the State Significant Infrastructure project. I am reassured that the approach taken by working with RMS seems to be resulting in improved outcomes for our community.
Meanwhile, NB Council’s Draft Transport Strategy will be released shortly and I will look forward to the associated detailed community engagement process as to what our vision is for transport and travel on the Northern Beaches.
This will consider some of the bigger picture questions: roads vs public transport; east-west travel; connectivity; active transport (pedestrian & cycling), parking & traffic issues. Stay tuned.