The Australian Government has granted environmental approval for the construction of the ACT Light Rail Stage 2, a light rail project that will run from Canberra’s CBD to Woden via the Parliamentary Triangle. The line will be 10.7 kilometres long and the project will see the addition of 12 new stops along the route.
Due to the notable planning approval process required to construct light rail through the Parliamentary Triangle, Stage 2 will be delivered over two stages – Stage 2A and Stage 2B.
Forecast to commence operations in 2024, Stage 2A: CBD to Commonwealth Park will be a 1.7-kilometre extension and will include:
- Three light rail stops;
- Expansion of Mitchel depot to stable and maintain additional trams;
- A new bridge over Parkes Way; and
- Raising London Circuit to the same level as Commonwealth Avenue.
According to the Australian Capital Territory Government, Stage 2A will help move an extra 3,000 passengers daily within its first year of operations.
The Territory Government welcomed the environmental approval, stating that this was an important milestone in progressing the project which will secure more than 1000 jobs.
The ACT Government says that it is getting on with the design Stage 2 of light rail, with funding secured through the ACT Budget. In 2020-21 budget, the Territory Government will invest $2.1 million on early works design to raise London Circuit with construction to commence as early as 2021/22.
Raising London Circuit is a crucial enabling project for light rail Stage 2A, and will improve the urban realm and pedestrian and cycling access between the CBD, City West, Acton and the Acton Waterfront. The project will raise the London Circuit road level on either side of Commonwealth Avenue taking around two years to complete. It involves changing the current split-level, overpass-underpass configuration into a level intersection.
The 2020-21 Budget also delivers funding to assess the benefits of extending light rail even further from Woden to Mawson.
Minister for Transport, Chris Steel, said 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.
“Light Rail to Woden will serve key employment, tourist and cultural institutions north and south of Lake Burley Griffin, before extending on to the Woden Town Centre,” the Minister said.
“Whilst Federal 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.”
“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,” he shared.
Minister Steel said the project 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.
“The ACT Government is committed to providing a well-connected public transport network, high quality walking and cycling infrastructure and connecting people to our local and regional centres,” he said.
“Light rail is powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity and is part of the Territory’s commitment to a zero-emission government by 2040.”