Light rail Stage 2A from the city to Commonwealth Park has been given federal environmental approval.
The project has been under assessment since being referred to the Commonwealth under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation ACT.
The decision had been expected early in January 2021 but Environment Minister Sussan Ley requested more time to assess the application from Major Projects Canberra, the ACT Government agency in charge of light rail construction.
The EPBC referrals website was updated late this afternoon to show the project had been approved.
Stage 2A will run along London Circuit through City West to Commonwealth Avenue, encompassing three stops and terminating at Commonwealth Park.
The 1.7km route will be wire free and first involve the major engineering work of raising London Circuit to the level of Commonwealth Avenue.
The impact of the pandemic and the complexity of the project and approvals processes has pushed back the construction timetable, and work to raise London Circuit is now not likely to start until late this year or 2022.
Actual light rail construction will probably start some time in 2022
The project still requires a Territory Development Approval and NCA Works Approval.
The main environmental concern involved the Golden Sun Moth habitat, which will be dealt with through offsets and a research project.
Stage 2B design and procurement planning is continuing, focusing on some of the more complex areas of the alignment such as the light rail transitions to and from State Circle in Stage 2B, and assessment of infrastructure near Commonwealth Bridge and the Lake.
The EPBC approval process is also currently underway for the Stage 2B extension from Commonwealth Park to Woden and is expected to take up to 18 months.
Original Article published by Ian Bushnell on The RiotACT.