19 June 2020

First sod turned on stage one of city wide light rail network

| My Gungahlin
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Today the ACT Government marked the start of stage one of the city wide light rail network for Canberra.

Construction of the first phase of the project is underway, creating thousands of jobs throughout the life span of the project.

As part of Transport Canberra’s integrated network, light rail will transform our growing city, taking thousands of cars off the road by providing a genuine alternative to driving, generating jobs, attracting investment and revitalising the main gateway to the city. The project will change how we use public transport, which is essential given there will be almost 500,000 people living in Canberra by 2031.

Construction of the first stage will be complete by the end of 2018 so that operations can commence in 2019.

The Government will be making further commitments on public transport in coming months, including on future stages of the light rail network – demonstrating our commitment to a city wide improvement of public transport.

Minister Fitzharris said the project demonstrates the ACT Government’s commitment to addressing congestion now, rather than waiting until the city is gridlocked.

“Light rail will transform our city, and today marks the start of a whole new transport journey for Canberra. It’s all part of our plan to keep Canberra moving,” Minister Fitzharris said.

“Congestion on our roads is only going to get worse if we don’t increase our public transport mix. We need to start changing how we move around our city, and I’m proud that this Government is delivering light rail now, before congestion chokes our roads.

“The way we are delivering light rail – through a public private partnership – means we can actually spread the cost of the project over a 20-year period making it really affordable like any other project or service we deliver over many years. Light rail is not only great for our city, but it’s affordable.

“I can also reveal that the consortium building light rail has to achieve excellent outcomes for the community in line with key performance indicators before we make any payments, so the community can have confidence this will be a great addition to our public transport network.”

A range of construction activities will now commence, starting with utility relocation and protection. More visible construction, like track works and landscaping, will commence later in the year. Construction will be undertaken to minimise disruption to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Standard construction hours for the project are expected to be between 7am and 6pm Monday to Saturday. Some work will be undertaken on Sundays and at night as needed to reduce the impact to traffic.

To minimise impacts on traffic movements, the route will be divided into six working zones and each zone will be subdivided into smaller construction areas. There will be a range of mitigation measures in place to reduce the impacts of construction, and the community will be provided updates before construction activities begin in each zone.

The sod turning took place today in Mitchell where the light rail depot site will be located. The Mitchell site will incorporate a stabling yard for light rail vehicles, a maintenance facility and the operations centre.

The light rail project is part of the ACT Labor-Greens Parliamentary Agreement.

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