JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Northbourne Avenue to be dug up for construction of city's light rail

Artist's impression of the City interchange for the proposed Canberra light rail.

Artist's impression of the City interchange for the proposed Canberra light rail. Photo: Supplied

The construction of the first stage of the Capital Metro light rail network will require all of the road surface on Northbourne Avenue to be dug up and replaced.

The project would also require the installation of new electricity substations every 2 kilometres along the 12-kilometre route from Civic to Hibberson Street in Gungahlin.

A report by consultants URS Australia prepared for the ACT government in April 2012 assessed options for the installation of light rail or rapid bus transport along the city to Gungahlin corridor. The government decided to proceed with the construction of a light rail system along Northbourne Avenue, onto Flemington Road to Hibberson Street.

The report said the construction of light rail infrastructure in the Northbourne Avenue median strip would require the entire road to be excavated.

''The alignment of this option uses a large volume of material on Northbourne Avenue to change the alignment, ie the entire existing road will be excavated and replaced,'' the report said. ''Also large volume truck movements are expected during construction. The alignment will require relocation of almost all services in the central median.''

The initial $614 million cost estimate for the project included $200 million for the relocation of utilities underneath Northbourne Avenue, such as water pipes or data cables.

Although the government eventually decided to run light rail down the Northbourne Avenue median strip, URS' preferred option was for kerbside light rail or rapid bus transit.

The URS report said this would ''act like a tram or streetcar with many stops and integration with verge-side pavements to help create an active cafe and retail strip along Northbourne Avenue''.

The report said it may be possible for trams to receive power from beneath the track, but this could be more expensive than traditional overhead power cables.

''Emerging technology exists to operate [the light rail] system with electric supply from beneath the track, which increases a city's attractiveness, but adds to capital costs.''

Power would be supplied from new substations at two-kilometre intervals along the corridor. Some of the substations could be located inside buildings.

''Generally, light rail projects were implemented in three to four years from the beginning of preliminary design to the end of testing,'' the report said.

Under its parliamentary agreement with Greens minister Shane Rattenbury, Labor has agreed that construction of the Capital Metro should begin before the 2016 election.

The government is considering whether or not to release key light rail planning documents.

Last month, government officials told an Assembly estimates committee that a submission on the project to Infrastructure Australia could be released upon application to Infrastructure Australia.

But Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell later wrote to the committee and said this was incorrect as the document was ''cabinet-in-confidence''.

Mr Corbell has undertaken to consider releasing the submission.

55 comments

  • I can't work out why they need to dig up and excavate ALL of Northbourne Ave...

    I'm sure they didnt excavate the entire and replace roads close to the light rail in Shdney and other cities...

    Commenter
    gg
    Date and time
    July 12, 2013, 6:50AM
    • Northbourne Ave would benefit from a complete resurfacing, just like the Tuggeranong Pkway which is in disgraceful condition. What a nightmare it would be to do either!

      Unnecessary light rail isn't the reason to do it though...

      Commenter
      Wook
      Date and time
      July 12, 2013, 9:11AM
    • Wook what do you mean Northborne needs resurfacing? All the guttering and the road surface were replaced around 5 years ago, surface wise it is one of the best in Canberra.

      gg, I agree with you, don't see why they even need to touch Northborne Ave, except for where the line is planned to go into the 'station' at what is currently the motor registry in Dickson. Now whilst I understand they need to relocate "services" that run under the planned light rail line, this should be possible within the confines of the existing median strip. without the need for a wholesale dig-up of Northborne Ave. Unless of course the plan is now to run the lines down the existing carriageway.

      Commenter
      Jimmy
      Location
      CBR
      Date and time
      July 12, 2013, 10:32AM
    • As stated 200million to move data cabling, sewage and add power infrastructure to support the new tram system. You can have the fibre pits underneath trams even if there was room, because they would get held up every time someone pulls new fibre through (which happens a lot and will happen even more often).curb solution would be more cost efficient with the over head lines, but you would sacrifice a lane of traffic or need to extend into the median strip anyway,

      Commenter
      BlackKnight7891
      Date and time
      July 12, 2013, 12:34PM
  • I am amazed at so much money being spent to benefit so few people. I don't care what spin the politicians put on this, I see it as they are being held to ransom by the lone Green assembly member. There will be so many Canberrans that won't get one cent of benefit for such a huge outlay. And can the government afford this? There are so many other areas of the budget that desperately require funds to try and maintain their services to the public.
    I will be interested to read other points of view from the people of Canberra.

    Commenter
    C of Southside
    Date and time
    July 12, 2013, 7:01AM
    • I'm sorry you feel that way. I wonder if you'll change you mind once the entire Capital Metro network is completed and light rail connects all of Canberra's town centers. All projects have to start somewhere, would you be more supportive if it started on the Southside?

      Commenter
      Seems fair
      Date and time
      July 12, 2013, 7:47AM
    • Seems Fair - don't hold your breath. This City Metro will not happen and if my some miracle it does, my great grandchildren will not see "light rail connecting all Canberra Town Centres". This government took over 9 years (from legislation to completion) to build the GDE, so how long do you think they would take to build a light rail system? It only took 6 years to beat facism in WW2. Guess we were lucky a Stanhope wasn't leading the Allies....

      But I needn't worry. It won't happen. We will however have a floating whale, a 6 hour wait in Casualty at Canberra Hospital and wonderful sister city arrangements with exotic places like Big Butte Idaho, so all is good!

      I think I prefer vanilla....

      Commenter
      BBA
      Location
      Banks
      Date and time
      July 12, 2013, 8:08AM
    • Seems fair,

      We already have a bus network that connects all of Canberra's town centres and how many people use it? Less than 10%. This is a disaster waiting to happen pure and simple

      Commenter
      Richo
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      July 12, 2013, 9:28AM
    • BBA: I live how you repeat the Liberal mantra without qualification. The government was first criticized for the GDE so they first built it as a single lane each way, the day it opened the public screamed for it to be duplicated, so they did. 18 months of the delay was due to legal challenges (http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/gde--great-drive-eventually-20111007-1v772.html).

      But don't let the truth get in the way of a good story......

      Commenter
      Mat
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      July 12, 2013, 10:15AM
    • Ahh another southsider who just doesn't get it? Unfortunatly with project like this you need to start somewhere and the logical place to start is where the demand, or should I say potential demand is. The Northborne Ave and Flemmington Road corridors are high desnity and could be viable (though must admit I still have my doubts). No where else in Canberra, especially the south side has the density along the main transport corridors to sustain it.

      Now before you go me, I don't like in Gungahlin, I live in West Belconnen and no I don't expect light rail to my door or even to Belconnen Town centre, but I don't begrudge the city as a whole to move forward so the mistakes of the past are not repeated.

      Commenter
      Jimmy
      Location
      CBR
      Date and time
      July 12, 2013, 10:35AM

More comments

Comments are now closed

Related Coverage

Featured advertisers

Special offers

Credit card, savings and loan rates by Mozo