NorthConnex Needs Change

Posted: 3rd Dec

Sydney’s new tunnel tollway, NorthConnex, needs to change its operating model. This was the message resonated by NatRoad members at the recent Industry Forum in Newcastle on 11 November. NorthConnex and RMS’s NorthConnex Project team representatives gave an update on the massive construction project and its proposed operation.

The State Government’s intention to force up to half of all heavy vehicles now using Pennant Hills Road into the new tollway, due to open in mid-2020, must be reversed. Operators at the forum raised their concerns about the plan to restrict the use of Pennant Hills Road forcing most of them to use the tollway.  The main issues are:

  • The use of NorthConnex is in practice compulsory for vehicles over 12.5 metres long or 2.8 metres high unless they have a local delivery along Pennant Hills Road, are carrying dangerous goods, or are an oversize heavy vehicle with a permit;
  • No practical free alternative routes have been identified - operators and drivers will have to find their own non-tolled route;
  • The fuel, food, and rest facilities along Pennant Hills Road will no longer be available to heavy vehicles forced through the tunnel;
  • The cost of using NorthConnex:  at $23.03 per trip this will be a significant additional burden that many operators will not be able to recover or absorb.  For example, a single truck doing two return trips a day, five days a week for 48 weeks a year will run up  $22,109 in tolls.  The new toll comes on top of the existing tolls already incurred by many across the Sydney road network.  For some businesses this extra imposition will put them under extreme financial pressure; and
  • Two gantries will be used to monitor heavy vehicle use of Pennant Hills Road.  Vehicles restricted from using the road that pass under both gantries with the flow of traffic face fines.  Greater clarity needs to be provided on how this affects deliveries along Pennant Hills Road.

Whilst NatRoad welcomes quality new road infrastructure, how it is used is equally important.  The adverse impact NorthConnex’s operational regime will have on road transport operators is not acceptable.  NatRoad will be pursuing sensible change with the NSW Government on behalf of members and all affected operators.

NorthConnex Facts

What: A nine kilometre twin tunnel tollway designed to be a replacement route for through traffic along Pennant Hills Road

Where:  From the M1 Pacific Motorway at Waroonga to the M2 Hills Motorway at West Pennant Hills


How Much:  $23.03 per trip for a heavy vehicle.  $7.68 for a car.

Who Can’t:  Vehicles longer than 12.5 metres or higher than 2.8 MUST NOT use Pennant Hills Road, unless they fall into an exception below.


The Fine:  $191 for using Pennant Hill Road illegally.  No demerit points.

Who Can: 

You can use both Pennant Hills Road or NorthConnex if you are:

  • A truck or bus under 12.5 metres long or 2.8 metres high
  • A truck or bus over 12.5 metres long or 2.8 metres high but have a pick up or delivery only accessible by Pennant Hills Road.
  • A recreational vehicle,  car towing a caravan, trailer, boat or horse float
  • A light vehicle
  • Emergency service vehicle

You can use only Pennant Hills Road (NOT NorthConnex) if you are:

  • A placarded or signed vehicle carrying dangerous goods
  • An oversize vehicle with a permit


More information: Click here to access the guide to using NorthConnex for trucks and buses.