Wednesday 19th Jun, 2019

Business Chamber welcomes Parra light rail contract signing

Parramatta Light Rail at Sydney Olympic Park. Artist's impression: NSW Government

The Western Sydney Business Chamber has applauded the recent signing of contracts to build Parramatta Light Rail, but says it hopes the construction will reflect ‘lessons learned’ from previous projects.

A joint venture of Downer and CPB Contractors was in December awarded the $840 million deal to build the light rail system, and a consortium including Transdev and CAF were awarded a $536 million contract to supply trains and operate the network.

Western Sydney Business Chamber executive director David Borger welcomed the news, but indicated businesses’ continued wariness of the disruption that may be caused to local businesses by the project’s construction.

“Parramatta Light Rail Stage 1 will showcase that the ‘west is best’ with all the lessons learnt from other light rail projects,” Borger said on December 20.

Parramatta business owners have expressed to the state they are concerned their foot traffic numbers may decline in a similar way to those reported along George Street during the protracted construction of the Sydney CBD and South East Light Rail project.

The state has outlined a number of measures to be taken during the construction of Parramatta Light Rail, including a three-month ‘construction grace period’ which will apply along Eat Street each summer.

Borger was positive about the project overall.

“This project will not only be a catalyst for investment but will bridge communities together and connect people to other forms of public transport, such as the heavy rail and the soon-to-come Metro West,” he said.

“Other light rail projects including the Gold Coast, Canberra, Newcastle and the Sydney CBD, have all influenced the structure of the tenders and the need to minimise the impact of construction as much as humanly possible on key precincts like Church Street.

“Parramatta Light Rail Stage 1 is the first of what I hope will be many down payments on a public transport network that connects our emerging Central City of Parramatta with its surrounding suburbs and key employment, cultural and entertainment precincts.”

Borger also encouraged the NSW Government to release the business case for Stage 2 of the light rail project, which would link Parramatta to Sydney Olympic Park through Rydalmere, Melrose Park and Wentworth Point.

“If there is any lesson we’ve learnt in Sydney, it is that we need to keep building public transport to improve the connectivity between our communities and reduce the impact of road congestion,” Borger said.

“Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2 is a critical next step in the Western Sydney public transport story and the NSW Government needs to reveal its plans for this next stage before the State Election in March.”

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