Sydney transport within the CBD and inner suburbs is set to be transformed following the approval of a $1.6 billion light rail system which is set to link the CBD and Central Quay to major entertainment, health and education precincts.
In a statement released on Wednesday night, New South Wales Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian announced that the NSW Department of Planning and Environment had given planning approval for the CBD and South East Light Rail project.
Set to be built over a four to five-year period commencing early next year, the new network will extend from Circular Quay along George Street to Central Station to Moore Park, then to Kingsford via Anzac Parade and Randwick via Alison Road and High Street.
Significant construction activities will include 20 light rail stops; 12 kilometres of track; major interchanges around ferry, bus and rail links; a new pedestrian zone along George Street between Hunter and Bathurst Streets; around 12 substations to power the vehicle fleet; and a stabling facility in Randwick and maintenance depot in Rozelle as well as and possible public domain upgrades including new public spaces, paving, trees, lighting and street furniture.
Once operational, a fleet of light rail vehicles (LRVs) with capacity to accommodate up to 80 seated passengers and 220 standing passengers at any time will be able to carry up to 900 passengers per hour in each direction, and will provide ‘turn up and go’ services every three minutes during peak hour within the CBD and every five to six minutes between Moore Park and the Randwick and Kingsford branches.
The LRVs will be around 45 metres long, and will feature air conditioning as well as accessible low floor design.
Berejiklian welcomed the development’s approval, saying the project was a priority for the government which would improve access to sporting, health and education precincts, accelerate urban renewal and generate around $4 billion worth of economic benefits and around 10,000 jobs.
She said the department had received more than 480 submissions regarding the proposal and that hundreds of community and members and stakeholders attended project information sessions.
Berejiklian acknowledged challenges associated with noise and disruption impacts during construction but said the government would make every effort to minimise these, with local business and community forums being established in each precinct along the route and Transport for New South Wales keeping the community in the loop about construction activities.
“We recognise that there are challenges ahead, and delivering a project of this scale in a busy urban environment will result in impacts to communities and businesses during construction,” she said. “We have listened to the community and these conditions will ensure that during construction and operation of the CBD and South East Light Rail, potential environmental, noise and traffic impacts are managed well.”
The project is expected to be funded through a public private partnership (PPP), with the contact to design, build, operate and maintain the system set to be awarded early next year and construction expected to commence soon after.
The service is expected to be operational in 2019 or 2020.
New track features:
- 12 kilometers of track linking Circular Quay and Central, the Moore Park sporting and entertainment precinct including the Sydney Cricket Ground and Sydney Football Stadium, Randwick Racecourse, the University of NSW and Prince of Wales Hospital at Randwick
- New pedestrian zone along George Street between Hunter and Bathurst Streets
- 20 light rail stops
- ‘Turn up and go’ services every two to three minutes during peak periods in the CBD and every five to six minutes between Moore Park and the Randwick and Kingsford branches
- Major interchanges with ferry, heavy rail and bus services
- New fleet of electric-powered Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs), with air conditioning and accessible low-floor design
- Capability to carry up to 9,000 passengers per hour in each direction
- Public domain improvements including possible new public spaces, paving, trees, lighting and street furniture
- New stabling facility in Randwick and maintenance depot in Rozelle
- Around 12 new substations to power LRVs