Woden motorists can expect to use alternative routes from next month when Callum Street closes for the start of construction on the new transport interchange.
The $30 million contract for the interchange, which will include light rail stops in preparation for when the line is extended to Woden, has been awarded to Huon Contractors and work is already under way on bus layovers and driver amenities on Easty Street and Launceston Street near Phillip Oval.
Community consultation has also begun on plans for a new north-south road connection linking Bowes and Bradley streets as a local access shared zone, a proposal that the Woden Valley Community Council says will clog the area with traffic and cut the pedestrian link with the planned new CIT.
Transport and City Services Minister Chris Steel said the new interchange would be closely integrated with the CIT project and both projects would be major disruptions for the Woden Town centre.
Callam Street will be permanently closed to private vehicles between Bradley Street and Matilda Street from around mid-August with the final on-street interchange creating a pedestrian-friendly space between the Town Square and Woden Town Park.
Traffic will be redirected to Melrose, Yamba Drive and Easty Street.
Chair of the Public Transport Association Ryan Hemsley said it would be short-term pain for the long-term gain of a modern, safer interchange.
He said parts of the Town Centre were disconnected and the new interchange will stitch these pieces together so people will feel comfortable walking around the Town Centre and more comfortable accessing it by public transport.
“Bear with it, we’ve got a fantastic interchange coming. At the end of this it will be a much better town centre that you will want to visit,” he said
The first phase of construction will include the new bus layovers and facilities, road improvements on Wilbow, Easty, Launceston and Callam streets, new traffic lights at the Bowes/Launceston, Callam/Launceston and Easty/Launceston intersections and new pedestrian crossings across the Town Centre.
The new interchange will include 18 bus stops, up from the current 11, and provide for up to 40 per cent more services through Woden. It is expected to be completed in 2022 when the current interchange will be demolished to make way for the new multi-level CIT.
“It will provide a better connected and more sustainable Woden Town Centre in the future,” he said.
More community consultation will be conducted in the coming months on a new pedestrian boulevard linking the new public transport interchange with the Town Centre and on multiple aspects of the proposed CIT Woden campus as work progresses on its design.
The Community Council has always argued that the interchange should stay where it is and the CIT sited elsewhere, such as on the car park between Grand Central Towers and the Hellenic Club, a bigger space that would allow a more appealing campus design and greater green space.
But Mr Steel said the decision to site the interchange on Callum Street and create a new east-west pedestrian boulevard from Woden Town park to the Town Square stemmed from the Woden Town Centre Master Plan.
He said traffic modelling showed arterial roads surrounding Woden Town Centre would cope when Callum Street closed but a new Bradley Street/Bowes Street connection would allow access to the Town Centre, CIT and the interchange.
To learn more about the consultations go to the YourSay website.