Light rail stage two unlikely to go to Canberra Hospital due to technical constraints
Advertisement

Light rail stage two unlikely to go to Canberra Hospital due to technical constraints

The next stage of Canberra's light rail project is unlikely to extend as far as Canberra Hospital, despite the extension being the most favoured of the government's proposed routes in a survey of Canberrans.

A report on public consultations for the Stage Two light rail route to Woden shows a range of "technical constraints" on the capital's main public hospital could stop the train going all the way to the hospital.

Technical restraints could prevent Canberra's light rail going to Canberra Hospital.

Technical restraints could prevent Canberra's light rail going to Canberra Hospital.Credit:Karleen Minney

While the government has not released an official costing of the Stage Two project, Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris has said it would be "comparable" to the Gungahlin line, which is expected to cost around $939 million.

Of the 4000-odd residents who responded to the ACT Government's online survey on the project, 1364 identified one of the four proposed routes as their preference.

Advertisement
Canberra's light rail Stage Two, overseen by Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris, is unlikely to extend to Canberra Hospital.

Canberra's light rail Stage Two, overseen by Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris, is unlikely to extend to Canberra Hospital.Credit:Rohan Thomson

Of those, 56 per cent, or 761 people, backed Option 2b, which would run through Parkes and Barton and all the way to Canberra Hospital.

The second most popular route was Option 2a, which ran through Parkes and Barton but stopped in Woden town centre, followed by the two options going past Parliament House, instead of through Parkes.

Given the technical issues with the extension to Canberra Hospital, the government is likely to pursue Option 2a, but a final decision is expected to be made in September.

If the route does travel through Parkes and Barton, it could potentially add five or six minutes to the travel time from Woden to Civic, although detailed technical studies are underway to confirm that difference.

The report also shows that recent investigations since the four options were announced revealed a range of technical constraints to the entire southern expansion and "potential operational and hospital access issues".

Across the entire project, constraints found so far included heritage buildings, sensitive landscapes, the gradient of the bridge over Lake Burley-Griffin, radii of bends and traffic volumes that could impact the final route.

A range of other concerns were also voiced by residents groups, business owners and property developers, including maintaining green space and concerns around heritage and property zoning along the light rail corridor.

Residents also reported their concerns about whether the light rail would replace existing bus services, the cost of the project and cost of light rail tickets as well as any potential impact it could have on bus ticket prices.

Others voiced concerns about the distance from stops in Barton to Manuka for shopping and Manuka Oval for sporting events.

The most popular stop locations identified in the report were along Canberra Avenue, Kings Avenue, in Barton and on Melbourne and Brisbane avenues.

While Woden Valley Community Council wanted to ensure it helped develop Woden town centre, residents groups in Deakin and Yarralumla wanted to protect green space along the corridor, particularly horse paddocks along Adelaide Avenue.

The Property Council and Inner South Canberra Community Council supported rezoning land along the route.

The Kingston Barton Residents Group also asked the government whether the entire corridor would be rezoned for more 'mixed use' developments, but it is still unclear what zones will be chosen along the route.

The government did not respond to questions about the specific technical constraints to the hospital extension by deadline, as those constraints were not detailed were not detailed in the report.

Correction: This story previously stated 1364 residents responded to the survey, but over 4000 responded, and of those, 1364 expressed a preference for one of the government's proposed routes.

Daniel Burdon is a reporter for The Canberra Times