The ACT Government is preparing the ground for the years of disruptions to come from light rail construction in the city, and later on the way to Woden, arranging meetings with businesses on London Circuit this week and issuing a community survey on commuting impacts.
Enabling works for Stage 2A to Commonwealth Park are underway, and the project to raise London Circuit to create a level intersection with Commonwealth Avenue is expected to start in April 2022.
The ACT Government insists the first track will be laid in 2024.
Businesses in Civic West will face major disruptions to their trading ability, similar as those in Gungahlin – an experience that angered many traders and one the government is keen not to repeat.
The government will start direct business engagement this week, with ACT Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel and the specially created Light Rail Disruption Taskforce hosting two roundtables on Tuesday, 16 November, and Thursday, 18 November.
The government says these sessions will provide an opportunity for businesses in the construction zone to hear about what’s coming up with project works in the months ahead, and provide their feedback on how the government can work with them to manage its impacts.
“Light rail to Woden will be Canberra’s biggest ever infrastructure project,” said Mr Steel. “That means we need a big program of engagement so businesses and local residents can help shape how we deliver it.
“We’re being upfront with city-based businesses and the broader Canberra community that the construction of light rail to Woden will be disruptive so we’re also making sure we communicate early and often about what’s happening before construction starts next year.”
Representatives from the light rail project delivery team and the Disruption Taskforce want to hear from businesses about how things such as construction scheduling, sequencing and works delivery may affect their operations.
The sessions will also explore lessons learned from other major infrastructure projects around Australia, and construction of light rail Stage 1, to identify practical initiatives that can support businesses during the delivery of the project.
“We understand the COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for businesses across Canberra,” said Mr Steel. “We want to partner with those in the construction zone to provide the right information and support as we start work on this project that will benefit our city for generations to come.”
The ACT Government is also launching a survey for the broader Canberra community to understand how upcoming disruption to the traffic network may change the way people commute to and from the city.
“During the construction of light rail to Woden, there will be impacts to the road network, public transport routes and active travel connections both in and out of the city,” said Mr Steel. “This will affect commuters in different ways, particularly those on Canberra’s southside.
“This survey will help us better understand how, why and how often people are currently travelling to the city, and how we can minimise impacts during the construction period.”
Mr Steel said Canberrans would be asked to rethink their routes and rethink their routines for commuting during what will be years of construction.
Feedback from the survey will help identify opportunities to support people to make different travel choices.
“By working closely with local businesses and the Canberra community as we build light rail to Woden, we are aiming to minimise the disruption where we can while ensuring everyone shares in the benefits of a more vibrant, connected and sustainable city,” said Mr Steel.