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NSW govt urged to construct 'congestion-busting' tunnel
20/07/2012 - The NSW government is being urged to build a new congestion-busting tunnel in Sydney.
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A two-lane tunnel dedicated exclusively to buses is one of six options being examined to make life easier for northern beaches commuters, Treasurer Mike Baird has revealed.
The tunnel would extend from Spit Junction near Mosman, under Military Road and pop out at the Warringah Freeway.
Other options being looked at as part of the Bus Rapid Transit plans include widening Spit Bridge to six lanes and closing it to marine traffic.
But the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) has urged the government to build the tunnel.
"Dedicated bus lanes over the Spit Bridge have provided some relief but the tunnel will bypass congestion from Spit Junction along Military Road and ensure a smooth run into the city," RTBU divisional secretary Chris Preston said.
"This will encourage more people to choose public transport as an option which will have a better outcome for congestion in the city and a better outcome for the environment."
Baird said the tunnel was his preferred option because it could deliver the quickest journeys.
And he said the tunnel may be opened up to cars as well as buses.
"We will be asking Infrastructure NSW to consider as part of its overall State Infrastructure Strategy, the possibility of opening up the tunnel not just to bus commuters but also car travellers," Baird said.
There is now going to be a period of consultation with local councils before a final decision is made.
Roads Minister Duncan Gay said the government's feasibility study into a bus-only tunnel met an election commitment.
"If there's something that comes out of it that works, of course I'd be supportive," Gay told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.
"In fact, every sensible person would. It is one of the conduits into the city that is very definitely a problem."
Baird is the MP for Manly, the electorate across Middle Harbour from where the tunnel would be built.
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