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19th of January 2018

Economy



WestConnex: Sydney tunnels a year away from completion

A tunnel. Related Story: The road 'monstrosity' no-one wants to build Related Story: Toll road users to get free car rego in Sydney

Excavation work on tunnels built as part of the Sydney WestConnex project is almost complete, but motorists will have to wait at least a year to drive the underground route.

The 5.5 kilometre twin tunnel, costing $3.8 billion, connects Homebush to Haberfield in the inner west and are the first tunnels built for WestConnex, touted as Australia's largest transport project.

The media were given the first look at the new works, also inspected by Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for WestConnex Stuart Ayres.

The Premier said more than 2,000 workers helped with the build.

"Progress is significant I couldn't be happier," she said.

"What this means is people can start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel."

An artists impression of a tunnel, which forms part of the M4 extension.

Ms Berejiklian said she was confident the tunnel would be open to the public in early 2019.

"That's always been the deadline. We're confident the March deadline is pretty good.

"I know from the workers what detailed design needs to go in to make it the best in the world.

"We are confident the project will come in on time and on budget."

The new tunnels will connect to the M4 and extend it underground, allowing motorists to bypass the congestion headache when they leave the M4 at Concord.

A big underground road.

Minister Ayres said construction was an enormous engineering feat.

"Since our first breakthrough in July, there have been five breakthroughs between our four tunnelling sites, which means there is now a continuous 5.5 kilometre stretch in each tunnel," he said.

"When the new M4 opens drivers will save up to 20 minutes on a trip from Parramatta to the city."

Work is underway on the second tunnel section at St Peter's, another part of the 33km motorway.

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