The World Heritage listed Sydney Opera House is one of the busiest tourist and cultural precincts in Australia, welcoming around 8.2 million visitors every year. With approximately 1,700 paid performances per year, restaurants, bars, retail outlets and guided tours, the building operates 24 hours a day, 363 days a year. Pedestrians currently share the Forecourt with over 1,000 heavy vehicle movements on site each week.
The Vehicle Access and Pedestrian Safety Project will enhance tourist and visitor safety by removing heavy vehicles from the Forecourt to a new underground loading dock. This will allow pedestrians to have safe and exclusive access to all the Sydney Opera House facilities at Forecourt level.
The project will involve:
Diversion of the Bennelong Drain, a stormwater drain servicing parts of the Sydney CBD, that runs across the Sydney Opera House site
Excavation of a new access road and loading dock under the Forecourt & Vehicle Concourse
Remediation of the existing road to remove the kerbs.
The project is being managed by the Sydney Opera House Building Development & Maintenance team and is the largest building project to be undertaken at Sydney Opera House since the building opened in 1973. Construction & closure of the Forecourt commenced on 7 February 2011 and the Forecourt is expected to be closed until mid 2013.
Sydney Opera House will remain fully operational throughout the project, with theatres, restaurants and guided tours open for business.
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Sydney Opera House is open 7 days a week for shows, tours and dining. The Concert Hall stairs are currently closed for construction, please use the next set of stairs (the Opera Theatre stairs) to access the Box Office Foyer, Concert Hall, Opera Theatre, Utzon Room and Guillaume at Bennelong.
Will the Forecourt be off limits to the public?
The Forecourt will be closed to allow for excavation and construction until mid-2013 at the earliest. Access to the Royal Botanic Gardens and Man o’ War Steps will be maintained.
How does the site look?
The major works are behind a 2.4 metre high hoarding and the construction site is visible from the Podium and the Monumental Steps.
Will Sydney Opera House have to close down?
All the Sydney Opera House venues remain operational. Theatres, guided tours, food and beverage and retail outlets will remain open. There will be managed traffic arrangements in place.
Will performances still continue or will some have to be cancelled?
Sydney Opera House has a strong track record for maintaining performance schedules throughout major construction projects, such as the recently completed Accessibility & Western Foyers Project. We intend to manage the project in a similar way, where construction and theatre schedules are integrated to ensure that all planned performances continue.
What about noise and dust?
As can be expected of any construction project of this size, noise and dust will be unavoidable. Plans are being put in place to manage the site and minimise the impact on areas outside the construction zone.
Will you be working at night or during the day?
There will be a mixture of day and night work throughout the project, and hours of work will be subject to Development Consent conditions. Generally work will occur from 0700-1700 hours Monday – Friday and 0700-1300 Saturdays.
Will tours still continue?
Guided tours will continue throughout the project.
Will parking be affected?
The car park will remain operational for the duration of the project. It is expected that parking on the Vehicle Concourse will be restricted from late 2011 – late 2012.
Will there be any changes to disability access to the building?
Limited parking spaces will be available for accessible parking throughout 2011 and these are currently on sale under the usual arrangements through Ticketing. Taxis drop offs and the complimentary shuttle bus will operate as usual.
Will free public events still be held on the Forecourt?
The Forecourt is now closed. However, plans will be put in place to manage major events such as New Year’s Eve.
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VAPS VEHICLE ACCESS INFORMATION
Sydney Opera House is currently building a new underground loading dock. This is the largest construction project since the building opened in 1973.
Watch a snapshot of how we manage this complex project and keep Sydney Opera House running
Traffic controllers will be present when necessary to ensure the flow of traffic is maintained.