The federal government has announced $137 million for the strengthening of the Commonwealth Avenue bridge in Canberra.
With Stage 2B of Canberra Light Rail expected to cross Lake Burley Griffin within the Commonwealth Avenue corridor, some had suggested that the needed bridge upgrades could be combined with work on the light rail line.
At a press conference announcing the funding Liberal senator for the ACT Zed Seselja said that a light rail crossing would be separate.
“There are approval processes that they still need to go through to go across the bridge. But that is a very different project. So strengthening of this bridge is needed regardless of light rail happening. But light rail would necessitate really the construction of effectively a new bridge across Lake Burley Griffin.”
A separate bridge is planned for the light rail line which would run between the two spans of the road bridge.
Chair of Public Transport Association of Canberra Ryan Hemsley said the group welcomed the recent investment in transport projects in the ACT by the federal government.
“In its current form, Commonwealth Avenue Bridge has limited provision for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. These proposed works, when combined with the simultaneous investment by the ACT government in the extension of Canberra’s light rail network to Woden, will go a long way towards making this part of the nation’s capital safer and more accessible for all road users,” he said.
“The next step is to ensure that these two projects being undertaken by the federal government and the ACT government complement each other, both in terms of their proposed staging and eventual functionality. We certainly hope that the National Capital Authority and Major Projects Canberra work constructively to deliver a multi-modal structure that Canberrans and the people of Australia can be proud of.”
Both Stage 2A and Stage 2B of the light rail project are awaiting federal environmental approvals.