Engineering, Passenger Rail

ACT budget: $12.5m for Light Rail second stage

The extension of the Australian Capital Territory’s light rail network to the southern suburb of Woden will enter the next stage of planning and design thanks to a $12.5 million commitment in the territory’s 2018/19 budget.

ACT chief minister Andrew Barr handed down the budget on June 5.

“Light rail is at the heart of our plan for a city wide integrated public transport network,” Barr said.

$10 million of the funding is to further advance the technical and design aspects of the planned light rail route to Woden.

The remaining $2.5 million is for supporting works, including the redesign and build of a new bus interchange at the Woden Town Centre, an upgrade of Parkes Way to improve traffic flow, updating the ‘Park and Ride’ strategy to incorporate light rail, and the redevelopment of the Yarra Glenn intersection with Melrose and Yamba Drives to accommodate light rail.

“We are tackling this project from both ends because we want to be ready to get work underway as soon as the project gets the green light,” ACT transport minister Meegan Fitzharris said.

“This project is significant for Woden and urban renewal of the town centre. We are already seeing investment in Woden as a result of the ACT Government’s plan to build light rail, and this will continue as we have seen along the City to Gungahlin corridor.

Australasian Railway Association boss Danny Broad said the budget funding was “fantastic news for Canberrans”.

“This announcement will cater for Canberra’s growing population and provide consumers with a light rail transport solution that will reduce congestion and provide connections to all modes of transportation,” Broad said.

The second stage route travels through land controlled by the Federal Government and is currently subject to an inquiry by the Commonwealth’s National Capital Authority.

“We will continue working through the design and approvals with the National Capital Authority and the Federal Parliament to progress Stage 2 of Light Rail because this is the next step in delivering the essential public transport spine we need to connect Canberra’s north and south,” Chief Minister Barr said in his budget address.

Stage one of the light rail network is currently under construction. Once complete, it will link the northern suburb of Gungahlin to Civic, the city’s centre.