Authorities will begin door-knocking residents of at least 70 homes on Sydney's north shore to make way for the long-awaited Northern Beaches road tunnel, the state government has announced.
However, frustrated commuters will have to wait at least another six years to use the tunnel with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian refusing to specify when it would be delivered or how much it would cost.
"We anticipate construction will take about five years but when we start the project will be dependent on the work that we do in the next few months," she said in Sydney on Thursday.
The Beaches Link tunnel is set to connect the Warringah Freeway and cross under the Middle Harbour to the Burnt Bridge Creek Deviation at Balgowlah.
It should ease the notorious congestion on Military Road and the Spit Bridge, and bypass up to 19 sets of traffic lights, slashing travel times by about 40 minutes between Brookvale and the CBD.
Ms Berejiklian, a local resident, confirmed at least 71 properties will likely be acquired for the project in Artarmon, Cammeray, Seaforth and Balgowlah, with Roads and Maritime Services authorities visiting residents over the next few days.
Thursday's announcement comes just three weeks out from by-elections for the seats of Manly and North Shore, but the premier refused to be drawn on speculation over the timing of the announcement, saying people are always "cynical".
The tunnel, which has been in the pipeline for up to three decades, will be funded by the leasing of the state's poles and wires.
"Geo-testing" on 235 borehole sites will begin after Easter and be conducted over the next six to nine months.