Wynyard Walk is now open, making it a breeze to travel between Wynyard Station and Barangaroo. It’s another big step towards making Sydney a more pedestrian-friendly city.
Officially opened on 20 September 2016, Wynyard Walk is far more than just another footpath. It’s a fully accessible pedestrian tunnel that’s 9 metres wide, more than 3 metres high and about 180 metres long. Stretching underground from Wynyard Station to a landscaped area called Girard Plaza, the route continues on to a pedestrian bridge over Sussex Street with lifts and escalators connecting to Barangaroo.
Its main benefit is that it cuts the average journey time between Wynyard Station and Barangaroo from around 15 minutes to six. And, instead of crossing roads, negotiating steep hills and braving the elements, pedestrians can enjoy a walk that is fully accessible, safe, covered and car-free. It’s also open 24 hours a day!
“The uptake has been amazing,” says Darren Eurlings, who manages Wynyard and Circular Quay stations, and has been involved with the project almost from day one. “It’s a nice, wide, open space with a futuristic design, and you can see that people really like using it.”
“Before Wynyard Walk opened, the journey to Barangaroo was highly congested. People were forced to cross three busy intersections and make their way down Margaret Street, which is very steep in places,” says TfNSW Project Director Stacy Mitchell. “Now customers are telling us that their walk to Barangaroo is as quick as four minutes, which is great news!”
The project also includes an impressive new entry on Clarence Street that will provide direct access to Wynyard Walk, the Kent Street tunnel and the station concourse. The centrepiece of the new entrance will be a 23 metre wide, 3 metre high curved LED screen called Wynscreen, which will feature curated artworks by 10 renowned artists from across Australia.
Aside from the accessibility improvements and benefits for pedestrians, the project will also help unclog the congested western corridor of the city by separating pedestrians from bus, road and cycle routes.
The project was no easy feat. Building the walkway was a monumental achievement, with major work beginning in late 2012. It involved managing five construction areas in the heart of the city, tunnelling 24/7 close to buildings, demolishing two multi-storey buildings on Clarence Street, navigating a web of utility services and working close to heritage-listed buildings.
Around 20,000 tonnes of excavated rock and spoil came from the Clarence Street site alone, and more than 500 tonnes of steel and 26,000 tonnes of concrete were used. All of this has occurred with minimal disruption to customers.
The secret to the project’s success?
“Collaboration,” says Stacy.
“The project team were absolutely amazing. They were all upbeat, engaging, highly competent and extremely hardworking. Nothing was too difficult for them… and they all enjoyed being part of the journey,” he says.
The opening of Wynyard Walk also marked the completion of much of the upgrade work at Wynyard Station.
Darren is particularly excited by the station upgrade, which has involved a complete modernisation and streamlining of the station concourse area. “It looks magnificent, and there’s a lot more space for customers,” he says.
Work has included removing the false ceiling, which has allowed the original 1930s ceiling to be seen again.
The George Street entry to Wynyard Station, including the Hunter Arcade, is also being upgraded, to make it easier for customers to enter and exit the station.
Also underway in Sydney’s centre are a ferry hub at Barangaroo, the CBD Light Rail and South East Light Rail, and the creation of a pedestrian zone in the heart of George Street, on track for completion in 2019.
The end result will be a city centre that is more enjoyable to live in, work in and visit.