Never mind the sex charges, losing ministers, NSW slipping into recession — the thing the city really cares about, the tunnels, are back in the news. The Daily Tele this morning scoops with the story of the cross city tunnel digging itself into a very deep financial hole. Reportedly involvency experts Korda Mentha are advising.

But meanwhile the fix is in for the Lane Cove tunnel. After repeatedly giving the impression that the latest toll road would indeed be open before Christmas, Connector Motorways is now talking about late January/early February. With a month’s toll-free travel and the restrictions on the feeder roads pushed back further, the NSW Government will be largely spared the sort of backlash that marked the opening of the dud Cross-City Tunnel. Nice.

Of course it’s all just a coincidence. As the SMH reports, the actual construction of the tunnel will be all done by the middle of next month, but “testing” will keep it empty for several weeks after that.

Motorists won’t feel any pain from the tunnel until well after the election as the government will pay Connector Motorways many millions of dollars to delay narrowing existing arteries to effectively force motorists to pay the toll. The SMH says the amount of compensation for that delay “has not been finalised” – which in itself is convenient as it deprives the opposition of a number to pin on Dilemma.

It’s grubby, it’s a waste of tax dollars, it’s the NSW government.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey