Sydney’s NorthConnex motorway tunnel has received a prestigious award at the International Association of Lighting Designers Awards.

The Excellence Award recognises the Sydney tunnel’s lighting – which was designed not just for aesthetic reasons but to keep drivers engaged – as design that represents excellence in aesthetic and technical design achievement. 

Transurban NSW Group Executive, Michele Huey, said the award puts the 9km tunnel on the global map.

“Since it opened in October, drivers on our city’s newest motorway have loved driving under the lighting displays, and now the experts agree,” Ms Huey said.

“The Excellence Award recognises lighting design that reaches new heights, moves beyond the ordinary and represents excellence in aesthetic and technical design achievement.

“Not only has the lighting turned up the safety and experience of drivers, it has also created a recognisable brand and identity for NorthConnex.

“There are five brilliant installations, three white or blue backlit forest silhouettes in the northbound tunnel, and starry skies and speed lines heading south.”

Ms Huey said the radiant lighting displays were installed after extensive research to help keep drivers alert and engaged.

“Designing not only for aesthetics but as an active safety measure has never been done like this elsewhere in tunnel environments,” Ms Huey said.

 “The partnership was years in the making, involving the Australian and NSW governments, Transurban, Transport for NSW, Austroads and the University of NSW, and involved driving simulators and the largest worldwide survey of tunnel users to examine driver behaviour.”

The tunnels are equipped with an innovative advanced LED lighting system to ensure motorists can safely transition from bright daylight to the darker interior tunnel section.

The award also reflects the contribution of Transurban’s partners including NorthWestern Roads Group, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Queensland Investment Corporation, designers LuxPopuli and construction contractor Lendlease Bouygues Joint Venture.

Around 37,000 vehicles travel through NorthConnex every day.

NorthConnex links the M1 and M2 motorways, allowing drivers to save up to 15 minutes of travel time. 

Other recent winners of the Excellence Award at the International Association of Lighting Designers Awards include the Royal Opera House in London.

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