The ACT light rail has been green-lit to expand after the ACT Government approved the business case for 2A from Alinga Street station to Commonwealth Park.
The project is 1.7km in length, and will add three new stops at City West, City South and Commonwealth Park, as well as four new light rail vehicles. The City West stop expected to immediately be one of the most popular stops on the system.
With work expected to begin on the Commonwealth Park extension as early as next year, the ACT Government will be ready to proceed with Stage 2B linking Commonwealth Park to the Woden Town Centre once these approvals have been granted – delivering light rail to Woden residents as soon as possible.
The Government will also be raising London Circuit – providing a new southern gateway for the CBD. Connecting London Circuit at the same level as Commonwealth Avenue enables significantly better walking, cycling and public transport links between the CBD and the Acton Waterfront.
The project builds on the success of light rail stage 1, which has seen the number of passenger journeys reaching 2021 levels two years early, and the project coming in under budget.
ACT Minister for Transport, Chris Steel, said that the release of the stage 2A business case marks the start of contract negotiations with Canberra Metro to deliver the project.
“The first stage of light rail has been an overwhelming success and we’re now getting on with the job of building a North-South light rail line, to extend the benefits to other parts of our city.
“Our commitment at the 2016 election was to avoid the congestion problems faced by other cities by investing in a better public transport network, and we’re getting on with the job.”
“By beginning work on Stage 2A, we are keeping the knowledge and skills from the successful delivery of stage 1 in Canberra while we continue to work on the approvals through the Parliamentary Triangle to Woden.”
“The Stage 2A route through London Circuit West and Commonwealth Avenue provides access to residential areas, business precincts, the ANU, the Canberra Visitors Centre, entertainment and retail areas, through to the designated transport corridor to Woden.”
Minister Steel said that the project would commence as soon as possible once the necessary approvals from the Commonwealth were received.
Early estimations suggest that daily patronage of Stage 2A will be an additional 2,500-3,000 passengers per day within the first operating year.
Stage 2 of light rail is an item in the Parliamentary Agreement for the Ninth Assembly.