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'Irresponsible' $10b tunnel cancelled by NSW government



The long-touted Northern Beaches tunnel has been officially abandoned by the Minns government, with the roads minister saying it would be "irresponsible" to spend $10 billion on the road.

It has been a long-held Labor pledge to scrap the proposed tunnel which was slated to run from the Warringah Freeway at Cammeray to Balgowlah, bypassing stop-start traffic on Military Road, and the open-shut Spit Bridge.

Budget pressure was a key factor, but Roads Minister John Graham said advice from both Transport for NSW and Infrastructure Australia backed up the decision not to proceed.

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"Given the amount of debt that NSW has got, our view is that would be an irresponsible decision at the moment," Graham said.

Graham also said it would "save" greenspace dotted across the north shore and Northern Beaches earmarked for use as dive sites during the construction, including the Flat Rock Gully walking trail at Willoughby.

"We're saving Flat Rock Gully as a result of the decision to cancel the Beaches Link Road."

But it's too late to save 26 properties, including 23 homes which have already been snapped up by Transport for NSW in an acquisition process that started under the Coalition government.

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Transport for NSW's Environmental Impact Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link plan.

Those homes will now be kept in government hands, with Graham saying $150 million spent on acquisition and planning won't be "wasted".

"It's important that we do protect properties in this corridor, you've got to plan for the future, and the government's doing that," he said.

"But that doesn't mean we've got to spend $10 billion now."

In lieu of the tunnel, a Northern Beaches network review will assess the traffic flow in the area.

But Manly MP James Griffin says locals and tourists will be disappointed and accused Labor of "governing by postcode".

"We had great hopes for the Northern Beaches tunnel being part of a solution for the traffic congestion we experience each and every day," Griffin said.

He also warned against more development in the area, which has been flagged by the premier, if the infrastructure isn't going ahead.

"That's a Chris Minns recipe for disaster … not only for people who live on the Northern Beaches but for those who want to come and enjoy the beaches during summer."

The government is committed to completing the already under-construction Western Harbour Tunnel and supporting Warringah Freeway Upgrade.

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