Local Traffic and Rat-runs

Impacts on Local Roads


Changes to traffic patterns as a result of the Beaches Link tunnel are projected to significantly increase delays on local roads and intersections including Condamine St at Manly Vale / Balgowlah, Sydney Rd and Warringah Rd / Wakehurst Parkway, despite recent road upgrades. These delays will encourage rat-runs on smaller local streets, increasing travel times and making local streets more dangerous.

Changes to traffic and rat-runs – impacting surrounding suburbs of Balgowlah, North Balgowlah, Seaforth, Clontarf


Rat-runs around the Balgowlah tunnel entrance are expected to be extensive, even more than in residential streets currently. Traffic is expected to divert from Sydney Rd to Condamine St, Balgowlah Rd, Kenneth Rd and other streets in this region trying to access the quickest entrance to the tunnel.

Equally, traffic will divert to streets trying to avoid the tunnel and it’s $7-8 toll around the entrance on Burnt Bridge Creek Deviation.


The Beaches Link EIS states “Surface connections at Balgowlah would attract traffic demand from both east and west of Burnt Bridge Creek Deviation. The additional traffic from North Balgowlah could travel via Kitchener Street to access the new access road from Sydney Road east. This could increase traffic volumes on local roads between Kitchener Street and Sydney Road, unless local area traffic management is also put in place to minimise increased traffic on local roads. Local area traffic management on Wanganella Street, Rickard Street and West Street would result in traffic demand using Woodland Street and Condamine Street instead, which is more appropriate to the function of these roads(1).”


In other words, rat-run traffic will increase through North Balgowlah along Woodbine and Kitchener Streets. It will take short-cuts through Wanganella, Rickard and West Streets that will be unmanagable unless speed bumps or similar are installed to push the extra traffic to use Woodland or Condamine Streets, further increasing traffic on those streets. More traffic using these streets as rat-runs creates congestion at intersections, makes small residential streets more dangerous, and increases noise levels for residents at night.


Similar rat-running could occur south of Sydney Rd, along Ethel, Upper Beach and White Streets as traffic attempts to avoid increased delays on Sydney Rd and Condamine St.


For vehicles using Sydney Rd from Manly or Seaforth, performance of Seaforth Junction (Manly Rd / Sydney Rd / Burnt Bridge Creek Deviation) improves slightly due to vehicles diverted into the tunnel from Manly Vale. However, any gains are lost by increasing delays at a new traffic light at Maretimo St (from average 10 to 23 seconds in morning peak 2027), or at the Ethel St roundabout that remains with average delays of over 100 seconds, putting it at the poorest intersection function, category F(1).



Changes to traffic – Manly Vale


The intersections at Condamine St and Kenneth Rd, Manly Vale currently experience congestion and long delays regularly. The tunnel will significantly increase traffic through this area as it is one of the main “feeder” roads – just pushing delays and traffic snarls further up the peninsula.

The Beaches Link EIS shows the intersection of Condamine St and Burnt Bridge Creek Deviation (at Freedom Furniture) increasing average delays from 19 seconds to 31 seconds (intersection category B to C) in the morning peak in 2027(2). Also relevant is that the intersection of Condamine St and Kenneth Rd, which is larger and currently causes more delays than the intersection at Freedom Furniture is not modelled.

This congestion will also have an impact upon the Manly Vale / Balgowlah shopping precinct with 3 major supermarkets around Rosebery St. This area currently suffers regular traffic gridlock, and is not modelled in the Beaches Link tunnel EIS – any problems from increasing tunnel traffic are relegated to council to resolve.