Earthworks on Northbourne Avenue to make way for light rail

Earthworks on Northbourne Avenue to make way for light rail

As the Liberals prepare to tear up the light rail contract if they win government, Capital Metro is preparing to build the tram by tearing up the ground of Northbourne Avenue.

Commuters along the major thoroughfare would have noticed construction fencing stretching from Antill​ Street in Dickson to near the Macarthur Avenue and Wakefield Avenue intersection.

Three new inspectors will examine safety standards on the transport project.

Three new inspectors will examine safety standards on the transport project.Credit:Jamila Toderas

The fencing was erected in June to prepare for the first major earthworks for the first stage of the ACT government's $710 million light rail project from Gungahlin to the city.

Capital Metro workers have since been undergoing trenching and mapping work to see what is underneath the ground along the light-rail corridor and relocate utilities where needed, an ACT government spokesperson said.


"The utilities identification and relocation works are expected to be finished in six to eight months depending on weather," the spokesperson said.

"As the utilities mapping work finishes in this area, the fencing will be taken down and moved to the next section of works."

More temporary fencing was erected along the same corridor for the removal of 17 trees damaged in last week's windy weather, adding to disruption along the corridor.

The ACT government spokesperson said residents and businesses had been regularly informed of the works, which were being done during off-peak hours and required partial rather than full lanes closures.

"We urge motorists to take extra precaution around these works and activity in the area and to adhere to signage on changed traffic arrangements, such as reduction in speed," the spokesperson said.

"These works will be undertaken as quickly as they safely can."

The tree removal was expected to be finished by the end of the week, while main track work for the first stage of light rail was due to begin in December - granting Labor wins government on Saturday.

Labor announced it will also spend $25 million on design and scoping work for the second stage, which is to travel over Commonwealth Avenue bridge to Woden.

The Liberals vow to terminate the light rail construction contracts, estimated to cost around $230m, or "to re-purpose the contract into worthwhile infrastructure" if they are elected.


Liberal deputy leader and transport spokesman Alistair Coe said the works on Northbourne Avenue would not be wasted under a Liberal government as trenching and mapping would be needed for their $58 million election plan.

Mr Coe announced last month the Liberals would build a wide bike lane down the middle of Northbourne Avenue and a bus lane down either side, carving five metres out of the median strip to fit the extra lanes.

Clare Sibthorpe is a reporter for The Canberra Times

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