Plans have officially been announced for stage two of the Parramatta Light Rail project.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed planning was under way and was expected to be completed throughout 2018 -- expanding the scope of the nine-kilometre second stage to include up to 12 stops.
“Our preferred nine kilometre route will connect with stage one of the project north of the Parramatta River through the suburbs of Ermington, Melrose Park, Wentworth Point and on to Sydney Olympic Park," Berejiklian said.
Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said the NSW Government has started work on a business case for the preferred route north of Parramatta River which is considered the best option to achieve a fully integrated transport and land use plan for the precincts.
“Light rail will also realise Sydney Olympic Park’s potential as Sydney’s premier destination for cultural, entertainment, recreation and sporting events, as well as linking businesses and residents in surrounding areas,” Constance said.
[Related reading: Demolition Works Commence for Sydney Olympic Park Central Precinct]
Industry groups have made it clear they are behind the announcement, however they expressed the government must not think of this as an early win and rest on their laurels.
The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue Chairman Christopher Brown, who convened a group of major landowners, stakeholders and councils into the WestLine Partnership to campaigned for a light rail link along the Olympic Corridor, said the decision would provide better access, and even more urban uplift, for one of the fastest growing, dynamic precincts in the country.
“This stage two connection will go a long way towards securing the future of this precinct, and will support the RAS’ expansion plans for Sydney Showgrounds, and GPT’s exciting Olympic Park Town Centre, which both require integrated transport solutions, including light rail links, metro rail, and improved road access," he said.
[Related reading: GPT Sells Sydney Olympic Park Development Sites for $30m]The Urban Taskforce expressed, in their opinion, the importance of increased density to complement the route.
“The two stages for the Parramatta light rail are well located to stimulate significant development along the routes,” Urban Taskforce chief executive Chris Johnson said.
“The connections to the Westmead Hospital precinct, to Carlingford and the second stage through Melrose Park and across the Parramatta River to Sydney Olympic Park can stimulate significant development particularly on the north side of the river."“When transport infrastructure projects are announced there should be a related announcement about the number of new homes to be developed. Communities often complain about the lack of infrastructure related to new development so when the government is committing to new infrastructure local communities must understand that increased development density will come with this.”
A final business case for stage two is expected to be completed in 2018, with an investment decision and details on the timing of construction to follow.
The Transport Minister said the final cost of the second stage would not be known until a competitive tender process was completed and contracts signed by 2019.
The environmental impact statement for stage one of the project is on exhibition until 23 October and expressions of interest have been sought to design and construct, supply, operate and maintain the network.
Construction on stage one will start in 2018, pending planning approval and will begin operating in 2023.