The New South Wales government is pushing to have its troubled Sydney light rail project ready by late 2019 with one kilometre of track left to construct.
The $2.1 billion project was originally meant to be delivered by early next year, but has been plagued by delays, costs blowouts and legal battles between the government, local businesses and subcontractors.
Despite the controversy, testing has now begun with vehicles running from Randwick.
As part of the first daytime test, conducted this week, Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance boarded a light rail vehicle and travelled from Randwick to Moore Park.
“This is a significant milestone and it shows the project is progressing,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said
“Not only is testing of the Light Rail Vehicles under way, but the track is nearing completion with less than a kilometre left to be laid.”
“As civil construction nears completion, more areas along the alignment will be energised, enabling testing to expand,” Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said.
Earlier this year, Acciona, the company tasked with building the light rail, took the NSW government to court claiming it was owed $1.1 billion in cost variances.
Last month, a class action seeking close to $40 million was lodged by more than 60 businesses for compensation over disruption and losses caused by the project.
Commuters, residents and neighbouring businesses have been directly affected by the delays in construction which has been described as a "visible scar" on Sydney's CBD and inner-east.
"Every major project has its challenges but this project is coming to life, this project will transform the way we move around," Berejiklian said.
Contractors forecast completion for March 2020, although Berejiklian is confident that date could be brought forward to late next year.