The federal government has given the green light to the next stage of Canberra’s light rail network, with Stage 2A receiving environmental approval.
The approval paves the way for a contract to be awarded and construction to begin on extending light rail from the Canberra CBD to Commonwealth Park.
ACT Minister for Transport Chris Steel said that the multistage project still had some hoops to jump through.
“While federal environment protection and biodiversity conservation (EPBC) approvals have been obtained for Stage 2A including Raising London Circuit, further planning approvals are required for the project from the National Capital Authority and the ACT Planning and Land Authority,” said Steel.
A separate federal EPBC process is underway for Stage 2B of the project, from Commonwealth Park to Woden.
“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. Studies required for these approvals include detailed analysis of the route, environmental and heritage assessments, and consultation with a range of local and Federal stakeholders,” said Steel.
Funding for early works on Stage 2A has been provided in the 2020-21 ACT budget, with $2.1 million set aside to raise London Circuit to align with Commonwealth Avenue. Construction could commence in 2021/22 and will take about two years to complete.
“The construction of Light Rail to Woden is part of the government’s $14 billion ACT Infrastructure Plan which includes a strong pipeline of works for the next few decades that will help to create more local jobs and support our city’s economic recovery,” said Steel.
Funding in the 2020-21 budget has also been allocated to assess the benefits of extending light rail from Woden to Mawson.
“Light rail is central to delivering Canberra’s integrated transport network to meet future population growth and support a sustainable and liveable city for all Canberrans,” said Steel.