12 May 2023

60,000 cubic metres of soil to be trucked through Canberra CBD to raise London Circuit for light rail

| Claire Fenwicke
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artist impression of light rail stage 2A

London Circuit needs to be raised to meet Commonwealth Avenue as part of stage 2A of the light rail project. Photo: Artist’s impression, ACT Government.

The route from Barton to the city centre is about to become more congested, with large trucks hauling 60,000 cubic metres of dirt for stage 2A of the light rail project.

From this Monday (15 May), about 40 extra trucks per day will travel along designated heavy haulage routes on Parkes Way, Coranderrk Street, Constitution Avenue and Edinburgh Avenue to deliver soil to help raise London Circuit.

Transport Minister Chris Steel said it marked a “significant ramp up” of the project.

“We always expected the most significant period of disruption would be around the middle of this year as we see the first truck movements happening and the soil brought in,” he said.

“We’re going to see more trucks moving through the CBD, so this is another reminder to Canberrans to think about how they move around the city.”

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The trucks will be on the road between 7 am and 5 pm every weekday and between 7 am and 1 pm on Saturdays. Each one has a maximum capacity of 42 tonnes, and transport will take place until the end of the year.

Mr Steel said modelling had originally been based on only one lane being able to stay open in each direction along Commonwealth Avenue, but they had worked with the contractor to make sure two lanes could remain open through to the city.

“[This] will hopefully minimise the level of disruption expected,” he said.

light rail stage 2A announcement

Major Projects Canberra senior project director Ashley Cahif, Transport Canberra senior director Tim Rampton, Transport Minister Chris Steel and Abergeldie Complex Infrastructure executive chairman Mick Boyle announcing the ‘significant’ milestone in the construction of light rail stage 2A. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

The soil will first be used to build a temporary embankment on the western side of Commonwealth Avenue’s northbound bridge, which will be used to create a ‘side track’ road.

“We’re expecting once that’s built, the traffic will switch on to that side track, we can then demolish the southbound bridge [over London Circuit], and once that’s completed, we can do the exact same thing on the opposite side,” Mr Steel said.

“We’re still expecting some traffic impacts to occur, though it certainly won’t be as significant as originally modelled.”

When asked why the trucks hadn’t been restricted to outside of peak hour, Mr Steel explained it was about weighing up the construction schedule against the impacts on the community.

“It’s always a balance with construction and infrastructure projects about making sure that we complete the project in a reasonable timeframe, which lessens the impact on the community, while also undertaking the works at particular times which try to minimise the impact on businesses and commuters,” he said.

“Look, 40 truck movements is significant, but we don’t think it’s going to shut down the city.”

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The soil will also be used to raise London Circuit by six metres to be level with Commonwealth Avenue.

The materials will be hauled from the construction site of the new ATO office building in Barton.

Major Projects Canberra senior project director Ashley Cahif said this wasn’t a coincidence.

“Part of the sustainability of [the light rail 2A] project is to reuse as much as possible and avoid heavy truck movements and fill disposal,” he said.

Continual samples of the soil will be taken and tested to ensure it complies with engineering requirements and EPA standards.

Given the number of larger trucks on our main arterial roads, Canberrans have been urged to take extra care.

“It’s really important that pedestrians and motorists are vigilant,” Mr Steel said.

“We know that trucks have blind spots, and it’s important people are looking out for them, using the designated crossings that are available around the construction site, and check online to have a look at the maps that are available about where to go.”

Pedestrian detours will be placed outside site entrances, with a new boom gate to begin operation at Constitution Avenue.

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Jim Berriman2:40 pm 20 May 23

Looking at the photograph. There is a tram stop bang on centre in the median strip amongst the multiple lanes of traffic going on and off Commonwealth Avenue bridge. Why there?
To safely cross the road there must be traffic lights for pedestrians. More traffic lights means grid lock congestion. At the moment you can catch a bus, even an electric omni bus in the future without difficulty at all. Absolute billion dollar madness.

So there will be 40 extra trucks per day from 7am to 5pm. If my maths is correct that’s 1 truck every 15 minutes. How will one truck cause congestion unless they all come at once?

TruthinMedia8:11 am 15 May 23

Should have done this during Covid when there were no cars on the road!

Jim Berriman3:15 pm 14 May 23

London Circuit will be lop sided with this up ramp. I would reckon the incompetent plan of the Tram design overall failed to provide powerful enough electric motors to drive the carriages up onto the bridge. What will the cost be ?

All that embedded greenhouse gas going into the Minister for rainbows toy train

Capital Retro9:54 am 14 May 23

Where is the dirt/soil/fill coming from?

Is every load being analyzed for contamination? More noxious weeds for the ACT, no doubt.

I know that you were obviously in a hurry to get here and post, but if you read a litttttttle bit further you would have your answer

And all in zero emission trucks too I’m sure.

5000 truck loads of soil loaded, carted across town, dumped, spread and compacted. How green is that?

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