Australia: Sydney CBD light rail construction begins
Andrew Clennell and Jim O’Rourke
The Daily Telegraph
SYDNEY- Commuters returning to work in Sydney’s CBD after the long weekend are experiencing their first peak hour since George Street was completely closed to buses for the construction of the light rail.
The $2 billion project, to run from the CBD to Kingsford via Central Station and Surry Hills is expected to be completed by early 2019 — months before the next state election.
New CBD bus routes were introduced on Sunday, to iron out the kinks ahead of the start of the working week.
Elizabeth St, already clogged during the morning peak, will have 201 buses an hour travelling down it, up from 179, because of the changes.
It is expected an extra 10 per cent of bus travellers — about 3800 passengers — will be forced to jump on another bus, catch a train or walk to complete their journeys.
Between 8am and 9am on weekdays, more than 35,000 customers enter the city centre by bus. Under the new bus network, the majority of these customers will be affected by a change in their bus’s route or where it terminates.
While traffic was flowing smoothly through the CBD up to 8am, the army of transport volunteer information officers were swamped with inquiries from confused commuters.
A spokesman for the CBD Transport Co-ordinatioon Office said he had been happy with how the transport timetable changes had panned out this morning.
The work beginning today will involve utilities companies digging underground to figure out how to rearrange electricity, gas, telecommunications and water facilities around the light rail, and how to install power to allow the trams to run.