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Sydney Opera House VAPS Overview | Sydney Opera House

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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 (VAPS) 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 Bennelong Drain Diversion was the first significant phase of work undertaken to enable the VAPS project. The drain, which originally ran across the Sydney Opera House site, services parts of the Sydney CBD.

The VAPS project also includes raising the existing roadway to create a level surface across the site and replacing the granite cobblestones on the forecourt. During the course of the project the Forecourt will be closed to enable the cobblestones to be laid. Roadway works are being undertaken in stages to ensure access to the Sydney Opera House is maintained.

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.

Sydney Opera House will remain fully operational throughout the project, with theatres, restaurants and guided tours open for business. 

Return to VAPS homepage.


The Vehicle Access and Pedestrian Safety (VAPS) project is being constructed to separate pedestrians and delivery vehicles for safety and efficiency, while maintaining operation of performance spaces and restaurants within the Sydney Opera House. The project will enhance tourist and visitor safety by removing heavy vehicles from the Forecourt to a new underground loading dock. It is the largest building project undertaken at Sydney Opera House since the building opened in 1973.

In order to achieve this separation, delivery vehicles will be diverted from the current roadway to a new tunnel entry located at the end of Macquarie Street. From here they will enter a new sub-level loading dock, additional tunnels will connect the loading dock to new lifts, which will ferry deliveries to existing Opera House facilities.

The design and construction of the tunnels was undertaken with particular attention paid to the risks involved in excavating under a UNESCO World Heritage Listed site.


Will the Forecourt be off limits to the public?
The forecourt with be partially closed from February, 2014 until late 2014. Access to the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney and Man o' War Steps will be maintained. 

How does the site look?
Forecourt and roadway works are contained by temporary fencing. Works to the east of the site are being undertaken behind a 2.4 metre high hoarding. All construction works are visible from  the Podium and the Monumental Steps.

The Podium Waterproofing Project is an unrelated project that is running concurrently with VAPS. This entails lifting panels on the Podium and the Monumental Steps and relaying waterproofing membrane. Works are going on behind temporary fencing, the Box Office is still accessible.

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. The project will be managed 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. A management strategy to minimise the impact on areas outside the construction zone is being adhered to.

Will you be working at night or during the day?
Works will occur during the day between 7am - 5pm Monday to Friday and 7am - 1pm on Saturdays. Overnight works will occur from 5pm - 7am, noisy works are subject to restrictions and are scheduled around events and performances. 

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.

Will there be any changes to disability access to the building?
Accessible parking spaces are available and these are currently on sale under the usual arrangements through Ticketing. Taxis drop offs and the complimentary shuttle bus will operate as usual. During roadway works the shuttle bus stop may be relocated to the Vehicle Concourse.

Will free public events still be held on the Forecourt?
Major public events will be managed and integrated as much as possible with construction works.

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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.

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