The first stage of the extension of Sydney’s light rail appears to be moving ahead, with the staged construction of a line from the University of NSW in Randwick to the CBD expected to be announced this week.
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell will announce that work will start at the university and go to Central Station, followed by a commitment to continue through George St to Circular Quay. The plan is expected to go to cabinet next week.
The announcement will be seen as a compromise option which would keep the supporters of the George Street light rail line happy, but be postponed long enough to avoid digging up Sydney during the next election.
The Transport Minister and Transport for NSW’s preference had been for work to begin at the Quay – in George St – and make its way through to Central. But many in the cabinet, including Roads Minister Duncan Gay, are opposed to light rail down George St amid fears it could create even further congestion.
Meanwhile, according to ABC News, Randwick’s City Council is pushing for the proposed construction to include cycle and pedestrian lanes alongside the light rail, claiming that the alternative transport infrastructure to the city is equally important.