Page 960 - Week 03 - Thursday, 30 March 2023

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Light rail—stage 2A

MR PETTERSSON: My question is to the Minister for Transport and City Services. Minister, how is the ACT government progressing with light rail stage 2A?

MR STEEL: I thank Mr Pettersson for his question. Of course, his electorate has been benefiting for some time from light rail up to Gungahlin. We are looking forward to continuing to progress light rail further south, which will continue to benefit everyone on the north side who chooses light rail by providing them with opportunities to connect down to the south side.

We have achieved a lot of milestones over the past year in progressing light rail stage 2A, which is the extension from the city to Commonwealth Park. We started with the construction of raising London Circuit, which continues apace; we signed a contract with Canberra Metro for five new light rail vehicles, retrofitting the existing light rail vehicles with onboard energy storage, and expanding the light rail depot to enable wire-free operations; we have launched the works approval and DA for light rail stage 2A; and we have commenced commercial negotiations for delivery.

I am very pleased to advise the Assembly that the detailed designs for light rail stage 2A have now been released by the National Capital Authority for public consultation and exhibition. The six-week period is an important part of the NCA’s works approval process. It provides the public with the opportunity to engage and provide feedback on the details of the project. I would like to thank the team at Major Projects Canberra for the diligent work that they have put in to producing these high-quality designs.

With the ACT growing faster than ever—faster than any other jurisdiction in the country—it is critical that we build the infrastructure that we need now for the decades ahead. This is an exciting step in delivering on that promise, and we are getting on with the job.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, what features can Canberrans expect to see in the plans that have been released for public exhibition?

MR STEEL: I thank Mr Pettersson for his supplementary. The final plans reveal some new features of the project design and other components, such as landscaping, traffic, urban environment, active travel and sustainability.

The proposed planting of pin oaks on Commonwealth Avenue on the median will strengthen the historic and scenic character of Commonwealth Avenue as a wide tree-lined boulevard, reflective of the Burley Griffin’s original designs. A grass track will be used on parts of the Northbourne Avenue corridor, London Circuit and Commonwealth Avenue, which will provide both urban and environmental benefits.

The designs include a new a new bridge over Parkes Way for light rail and two new signalised intersections on London Circuit at West Row and University Avenue. These will provide safe and controlled pedestrian and cycling crossings with in-ground pedestrian lights proposed at some key locations to promote safe track crossing. There will also be a cobbled median on London Circuit West to help motorists differentiate the light rail track from the roadway.

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