The $2.4 billion Parramatta Light Rail project has hit a major milestone, as initial track-laying commences.
New South Wales Minister for Transport, Andrew Constance, said the start of trackwork at Hawkesbury Road in Westmead showed significant progress had been made on the project.
“The Parramatta Light Rail is essential for future-proofing this growing precinct, one of the largest medical, education and research hubs in the southern hemisphere,” Mr Constance said
“We will see ‘turn up and go’ light rail services running through here in the next few years.
“That will mean a tram arriving every 7.5 minutes in peak periods.
“Along with Sydney Metro West and our train and bus services, it will help to cater for an estimated population of more than 40,000 staff and 30,000 students.
“Not only are we future proofing public transport for the area, this project is supporting 5,000 jobs as we rebuild the post-COVID economy here in NSW.”
New South Wales Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, said more than $650 million would be included in the 2020-21 NSW Budget to deliver this first-class infrastructure project and drive job creation.
“This Budget continues to build on our record infrastructure pipeline, which is delivering projects that will not only ease the burden on commuters but will spearhead our economic recovery from the pandemic by creating and supporting jobs,” Mr Perrottet said.
The track installed at Westmead consists of 18m lengths of grooved rail weighing almost one tonne each, set in a concrete slab that covers drainage and utility services.
Member for Parramatta, Geoff Lee, said the 48m track installation follows months of preparation including the relocation of underground utilities and the widening of Hawkesbury Road, Westmead, in association with the Westmead Redevelopment, one of the biggest health infrastructure projects in NSW.
“The community and local businesses will ultimately benefit from the convenient public transport option at their doorstep,” Dr Lee said.
“We thank the community for its patience during the recent road closures and night works, both of which have helped to minimise disruption in this busy medical and residential precinct.”
Member for Seven Hills, Mark Taylor, said Parramatta Light Rail would be a game changer for the entire region.
“It’s really exciting to see the start of track work here in the Westmead Health Precinct because it means we’re a step closer to this modern and convenient mode of public transport,” Mr Taylor said.
City of Parramatta Lord Mayor, Cr Bob Dwyer, said this project will be key to connecting this critical health and education precinct with the Parramatta CBD.
“It’s exciting to see this city-changing project one step closer to completion,” Cr Dwyer said.
The Parramatta Light Rail will have a number of sections where it will be free from overhead wires to seamlessly integrate with the surrounding environment.
Track will continue to be installed in sections across the alignment as areas become available.
The 12km, $2.4 billion Parramatta Light Rail will connect Westmead to Carlingford via the Parramatta CBD and Camellia, and is expected to commence services in 2023.