Planning approval for Sydney light rail project

A $1.6 billion light rail system planned for the centre of Sydney has been given the thumbs up by the city’s planning authority.

The CBD and South East Light Rail system will stretch for 12 kilometres around the city centre connecting up Circular Quay and Central, the Moore Park sporting and entertainment precinct and Sydney Football Stadium, Randwick Racecourse, the University of NSW and Prince of Wales Hospital at Randwick.

Preparations for the the project are already well underway. Three consortia – SydneyConnect, iLinQ Sydney and Connecting Sydney – have already prequalified for the main design/build/operate/maintain contract, which is expected to be awarded by early 2015.

If all goes to schedule, the network could be open to passengers between 2019 and 2020.

“This is a priority project for the NSW Government that will transform Sydney, deliver over $4 billion worth of economic benefits and create 10,000 jobs for NSW,” said Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian.

“I am delighted the project has received formal planning approval. The NSW Government is getting on with the job of building new infrastructure that will improve services for transport customers, increase productivity and support economic growth.

Planning approval follows a long public consultation period. The route of the CBD and South East Light Rail project will cause major disruption to some of the city’s busiest quarters.

Berejiklian added: “We recognise that there are challenges ahead, and delivering a project of this scale in a busy urban environment will result in impacts to communities and businesses during construction.

“We have listened to the community and these conditions will ensure that during construction and operation of the CBD and South East Light Rail, potential environmental, noise and traffic impacts are managed well.”