Tracklaying has begun on the Parramatta Light Rail project with the first tracks laid at Hawkesbury Road in Westmead.
The bedding in of the 18 metre lengths of grooved rail marks a major milestone for the project, where early works have been underway for months preparing the route and identifying utilities ahead of construction.
Minister for Transport Andrew Constance said the project would be “essential” for the area as it grows in the coming years.
“The Parramatta Light Rail is essential for future-proofing this growing precinct, one of the largest medical, education and research hubs in the southern hemisphere,” said Constance.
Constance highlighted that the light rail would provide a transport spine for the area and connect with other major projects underway.
“We will see ‘turn up and go’ light rail services running through here in the next few years. That will mean a tram arriving every 7.5 minutes in peak periods. Along with Sydney Metro West and our train and bus services, it will help to cater for an estimated population of more than 40,000 staff and 30,000 students.”
From Westmead, the line will provide passengers with a connection to Carlingford via the Parramatta CBD and Camellia. It is expected to open in 2023.
The upcoming NSW budget would include another $650 million for the project, said Treasurer Dominic Perrottet.
“This Budget continues to build on our record infrastructure pipeline, which is
delivering projects that will not only ease the burden on commuters but will spearhead our economic recovery from the pandemic by creating and supporting jobs,” he said.
Major works will be continuing on the project in the months ahead, however businesses in the Parramatta CBD will be granted a reprieve in the summer months, with construction on ‘Eat Street’ to be paused during the summer months.
“It’s exciting to see this city-changing project one step closer to completion,” said City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Councillor Bob Dwyer said.