Sydney tunnels

Using tunnels within the Sydney Orbital Network makes getting around Sydney easier than ever. There are now over 160 kilometres of uninterrupted motorways, freeways and other main roads around and through Greater Sydney.

Map showing major tunnels in Sydney
Map showing major tunnels in Sydney

Driving in major tunnels

When driving in one of Sydney’s major tunnels:

  • Always leave your radio turned on
  • Take your sunglasses off (unless optical prescription glasses)
  • Always check electronic message boards where available
  • Avoid changing lanes
  • Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front
  • Turn your headlights on.

Tunnel height limits

Tunnel Sign posted height clearance (metres)
Airport 4.4
City West link (east bound only) 4.6
Cross City 4.4
Domain 4.4
Eastern Distributor 4.4
Kings Cross 4.4
Lane Cove 4.4
M2 Motorway 5.0
M5 East Cooks River 4.4
M5 East Main 4.6
M8 5.1
Sydney Harbour 4.4

Find out more about overheight vehicles.

Dangerous goods vehicles

Dangerous goods vehicles are prohibited from travelling in Sydney’s tunnels. Find out more about dangerous goods.

Tunnel air quality

Sydney’s tunnels are required to meet air quality standards set to protect public health.

Vehicle emission levels are monitored continuously in Sydney's major tunnels and tunnel operators ventilate the tunnel to air quality standards.

Australia’s ambient (outside) air quality is regulated according to standards set under the National Environment Protection Measure: Ambient Air Quality. These standards were commissioned by the National Environment Protection Council.

In January 2016, the NSW Government released a policy for emissions compliance in new tunnel projects to protect the health and safety of tunnel users. 

Find out more information on the In-tunnel Air Quality (Nitrogen Dioxide) Policy.

The regulation and management of air pollution in Australia has meant that our air quality has been steadily improving since the 1980s. Data from the World Health Organisation shows that Australia has some of the cleanest air in the world, see how Sydney compares to the world.

While Sydney’s tunnels meet air quality standards set to protect public health, NSW Health advises that closing your windows and switching your vehicle ventilation to re-circulate will further reduce your exposure to vehicle emissions. These benefits can be achieved whether or not your air conditioning system is in use.  However, leaving your ventilation on re-circulate for long periods of time can cause the air to become ‘stale’, which could lead to increased fatigue and a decline in your ability to concentrate. To stay alert, keep the fresh air flowing by opening your windows or changing the ventilation system settings every hour or so. If you are caught in traffic in one of Sydney’s major tunnels:

  • Turn on your radio – emergency broadcasts may be transmitted and will cut into your normal station
  • If instructed, turn off your engine. Idling for extended periods produces higher levels of pollutants

Find out more information on clean air and air quality improvement initiatives.

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