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Lane Cove Tunnel opens in Sydney

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The last piece of Sydney's orbital motorway system - the Lane Cove Tunnel opened to traffic at 2PM AEST today. The 3.6 km long tunnel took three years, 9,000 workers and AUD1.1 billion to complete.

The tunnel was opened by four people who built it as well as the NSW Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal. Premier Iemma did not attend, opting to stay at home with his family after yesterday's election win.

Over the next month, motorists will be able to use the tunnel toll-free before a toll of $2.55 per car is introduced. It is expected around 80,000 vehicles per day will use the tunnel during it's toll-free period.

Designers of the tunnel claim it will reduce travel times by as much as 17 minutes.

The NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) has warned motorists that delays may be encountered as drivers get used to the new tunnel and associated changes. Last month the RTA launched a $1.1 million advertising campaign to advise motorists of the changes associated with the Lane Cove Tunnel including a virtual test drive on its website.

The tunnel completes Sydney's orbital motorway system, a 110 kilometre stretch of motorways circling the city. The Lane Cove Tunnel connects the Hills Motorway (M2) to the Gore Hill Freeway bypassing Epping Road.

Associated with the tunnel are changes to Epping Road (reducing lanes and providing bus lanes), widening of the Gore Hill Freeway and the Falcon Street Gateway.

The Falcon Street Gateway is a pair of north facing on/off ramps onto the Warringah Freeway which are tolled at $1.27 for cars.

Both the Lane Cove Tunnel and Falcon Street Gateway feature fully electronic tolling and have no cash toll booths.

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