The NorthConnex is the “preferred option” to connect the M1 and M2, but it wasn’t always so. Previously, there had been a proposal to build a “Lane Cove Valley Expressway”. Although it was shelved decades ago, Council is only just reselling some of the land.
Sydney CBD to F3 Expressway
Back in the 1970’s the original plan was to build a new road called the “Lane Cove Valley Expressway” joining the Gladesville Bridge, through the Lane Cove National Park and out towards the North. In the north, this new road would connect with the F3 Sydney to Newcastle Freeway, as well as joining to a second new road; The Northwest Freeway or Castlereagh Freeway heading towards Blacktown and Richmond. The Castlereagh Freeway remains as reserved land today.
It is worth noting that Lane Cove National Park was established in 1938, but a “Scenic Highway” was proposed by Ku-ring-gai Council along this route back in 1929.
However, the expressway idea was scrapped late in the 70’s partly because of the damage it would do to the Lane Cove National Park, but mostly because the Gore Hill Freeway was underway and traffic was heading north, up the Pacific Highway, rather than through the Inner West to go over Gladesville Bridge.
The B2-B3 Road Corridor
When the southerly section of the Sydney – Newcastle Freeway was built in the 1980s, talk continued about a southerly extension of the road as a controversial project known as the B2-B3 option or corridor which would connect the F3/M1 with the M2 at Marsfield. This would have followed a similar path to the proposed Lane Cove Valley Expressway, but protesters raised the issue of the road’s proximity to houses in Fox Valley and South Turramurra, despite some of the land in South Turramurra being acquired by Ku-ring-gai Council for the project.
It has been suggested that some of the land for the B2-B3 corridor was reserved as early as 1950.
The cost of building the B2-B3 option was estimated at $117m in 1989, a relatively small figure when compared to the present $3bn NorthConnex project, even allowing for inflation.
The controversial B2-B3 option was abandoned by Bob Carr and the NSW State Government in June 1996, but the legacy of plan remains with us in Ku-ring-gai as the 6 kilometres required 40 hectares of land to be acquired by Council, the RTA as well as some land being held privately.
Today, pockets of that land are still being disposed of, with the recent sale of 26 lots by Ku-ring-gai Council and the NSW Department of Planning, marked as “Turramurra Way” near Chisholm Street in South Turramurra.
A really good background article on the various route options and their issues has been written and published by Tim Blight and is the basis of this article.