A cancelled freeway plan from the County of Cumberland Planning Scheme

Artist's impression of the Lane Cove Valley Expressway in the vicinity of East Ryde.

These two Expressways appeared in the County of Cumberland plan in 1951, forming part of the F3 - Sydney to Newcastle Freeway route. The following extracts give descriptions of the proposed routing of the expressways.

"The North Western Expressway will form part of the planned expressway route between the cities of Sydney and Newcastle. It will extend from the City at Druitt St via Glebe, Balmain and Drummoyne to Huntleys Point where it will connect with the Lane Cove Valley Expressway which, in turn, will join the Sydney-Newcastle Expressway at Wahroonga."1

"The proposed route of [the Lane Cove Valley] Expressway extends north from Fig Tree Bridge along the west side of the Lane Cove River to North Ryde, then to West Pymble and from there to Wahroonga where it will link with the Sydney-Newcastle Expressway near Pearces Corner. At its southern end this Expressway will join the North Western Expressway at Fig Tree Bridge to provide fast and convenient access from the city to the north western and northernmost suburbs of Sydney."2

The Lane Cove Valley portion of the route had first been thought of as far back as 1929 when Kuringgai Council proposed the construction of a scenic highway located in the vicinity of De Burghs Bridge, South Turramurra, Fox Valley to Wahroonga. An expressway reservation was included in the County of Cumberland Planning Scheme maps of 1951. Since 1951, the DMR proceeded sufficiently with the design to confirm the resevration needed whcih was subsequently included in the Ryde and Kuringgai Planning Schemes.

In December 1959, construction commenced on the first section of the North Western Freeway, from Drummoyne to Lane Cove, including three major bridges; Gladesville, Tarban Creek and Fig Tree. This stage was fully opened to traffic in December 1965, with the completion of Tarban Creek Bridge.

The second stage to be constructed was commenced in 1971 and extended from Druitt St, Sydney across Darling Harbour to Pyrmont Bridge Rd, Glebe. Construction only progressed as far Harris St, Pyrmont, before the government announced it was abandoning plans to construct any further sections of freeway.

A study of the environmental impacts of the route from Epping Road to Pacific Hwy was undertaken by Macquarie University Students in 1974. The study revealed some major planning errors by Ryde Council in placing high-rise development in a gully alongside the proposed freeway alignment. These developments have since been affected by the construction of the M2 Motorway along the Lane Cove Valley Fwy reservation.

Since its cancellation, one more stage has been constructed of the Lane Cove Valley Expressway, between Epping Rd, North Ryde and Busaco Rd, North Ryde as part of the M2 - Hills Motorway. This opened to traffic in May 1997. The reservation between Epping Road and Linley Point had been de-gaztted in 1988 and the remaining route from North Ryde to Wahroonga was de-gazetted in August 1996 and preserved for open space. The following extract explains the Government's decison:

"A freeway plan on Sydney’s north shore has been abandoned. The Minister for Roads, Michael Knight, announced that a corridor of land reserved to link the F3 and the M2 would be abandoned. The move will free 11 hectares of bushland areas across Lane Cove River Valley from the prospect of freeway development. The 6km corridor stretched from Pearce’s Corner, Wahroonga to West Pymble and skirted Lane Cove River National Park. It had been preserved for road use since 1988."3

Sadly, the proposal to link the M2 and F3 along the original Lane Cove Valley Expressway alignment was permanently abandoned in June 2004, when the Commonwealth Government chose a tunnelled route beneath Pennant Hills Rd as the preferred option. A sad day to know that no more of these two historic proposals would ever be constructed!

Photos of the former Lane Cove Valley Freeway reservation between Burns Bay Rd and Pacific Hwy
Looking south at the intersection of Pittwater Rd and Blenheim Rd in North Ryde. The F3 would have swalled this whole intersection (similar to how the M2 swalled the Epping Rd/Pittwater Rd intersection, but on a much larger scale). Whilst Epping Rd is part of the old F3 reservation, so is the bushland to the left and right of Pittwater Rd in this photo. Nov 2005.
Remnant piece of land on the southern side of Blenheim Rd between Clarence St & Pittwater Rd. This would have become probably a northbound off-ramp to Epping Rd/Dehli Rd. Nov 2005.
Looking east over Blenheim Park, which only exists because it was gazetted as a freeway reservation in 1951. The trees lining the fences on the southern side of the park would have provided a handy noise/visual barrier. Nov 2005.
Fast forward to the area of the Lane Cove River crossing (as the M2 swallowed the old F3 corridor from Epping Rd to the toll plaza area) and Vimiera Road (pictured, looking south from Waterloo Rd) would have become a four-lane (at least), major connecting road to the F3. One of the few proposals that ever made public light of day saw Vimiera Rd/Kissing Point Rd joined via a bridge adjacent to Browns Waterhole, where the F3 would also cross the Lane Cove River and the new link. Nov 2005.
Looking north at the northern end of Vimiera Rd, near the M2. Nov 2005.
Looking south along Kissing Pt Rd at Currong Place (which at this point peters out into not much more than a walking path). Could anyone image a new four-lane road through here which would take pressure off Metroad 3 for movements between Ryde and Ku-ring-gai LGAs. Nov 2005.
Evidence of this idea, looking south along Kissing Pt Rd from Vernon St in South Turramurra. Nov 2005.
Looking south from The Comenarra Parkway, on the eastern side of Fox Valley shops. This area of bushland would have been consumed by the freeway. Nov 2005.
Fox Valley Rd looking southeast from Lucinda Ave. The F3 would have curved its way across Fox Valley Rd here, consuming the row of houses on the left side of the road in picture. Nov 2005.
Looking north through the reservation from Fox Valley Rd. This land has since been sold off and is no longer reserved for road purposes. Nov 2005.
Looking south from Eastbourne Ave, Wahroonga. Nov 2005.

1 - Department of Main Roads NSW, Main Roads Journal Vol. 37 No. 1, September 1971, pg. 2
2 - Department of Main Roads NSW, Main Roads Journal Vol. 36 No. 3, March 1971, pg. 69
3 - Roads and Traffic Authority NSW, Roads and Traffic News, August 1996

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