The iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge is set for major works in the coming weeks, and the New South Wales government says motorists can expect lengthy closures.
The NSW Roads & Maritime Services (RMS) has confirmed that the bridge will be closed to regular traffic for up to three weekends this month, allowing a resurfacing and new waterproofing to be applied.
The $3.5 million project will begin in mid-January, starting on the weekend of the 13th, continuing on the weekend of the 20th and, if not completed by the second weekend (accounting for poor weather), again on the 27th to the 30th.
“The bus lane will be open, so buses, taxis, hire cars and motorbikes can still use the Bridge, however delays can be expected,” a RMS spokesperson said. “Pedestrian and cyclist access will also be maintained."
Train services will also continue to operate across the bridge, and RMS is urging motorists to utilise public transport as one means of travelling over the bridge.
“The Sydney Harbour Tunnel will be open, but traffic is expected to be heavy during the work. Motorists should avoid the tunnel and take alternative routes to cross the harbour," the spokesperson added.
“Extra clearways will be in place in and around the city to help keep traffic moving.”
The announcement follows news last month that the variable tolls on the bridge and tunnel will remain in place, following a review that determined the expected revenue necessary to cover a "budget black hole" inherited from the previous government.
"The net present value of lost revenue to the government from removing time-of-day tolling and reverting to a $3 toll is estimated to be $28.4 million over the next five years," Roads Minister Duncan Gay said.
"Also, if time-of-day tolling were to be removed, other costs would be incurred relating to tolling system changes, signage and customer communications.
"Due to the costs involved I have no plans to remove time-of-day tolling from the Sydney Harbour Bridge or Tunnel."