Skip to content Skip to main navigation

News

Avani Terraces - Greenway
Life is looking up

Light rail to arrive sooner, cost less and bring more trees to Northbourne

By Charlotte Harper - 1 February 2016 271

light rail model

The consortium chosen to develop Canberra’s light rail project says it will complete the project more cheaply and quickly than the Government’s estimates, and will replace trees along Northbourne in a staged manner and with 4m-tall plantings so that no section of the corridor is without trees for more than four months.

There will, in fact, be more trees on Northbourne after the light rail is built than there are now, according to ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr.

The Government anticipates signing contracts with the Canberra Metro consortium by the end of June, with construction to commence the following month.

The successful consortium consists of Pacific Partnerships, CPB Contractors, John Holland, Mitsubishi Corporation, Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments, Deutsche Bahn International and CAF, and won out over the second shortlisted consortium, ACTivate, consisting of Keolis Downer, Keolis SA, Downer EDI Works, Bombardier Transportation, Plenary Origination, Parsons Brinckerhoff Australia, Aurecon Australasia, Cox Architecture, Itochu Australia and Partners Group AG.

The RiotACT understands that the consortia each spent some tens of millions of dollars on their bids after being shortlisted in March last year, committing large teams of dozens of staff to the project. Four consortia originally submitted expressions of interest in building and operating the light rail network in late 2014.

The bid from Canberra Metro (not to be confused with Capital Metro, the government’s name for the project which pre-dates the consortium’s) included a capital cost of $698 million, with a 5 per cent variance depending on negotiations and changes in market conditions between now and contract closure.

The Government updated 2012 estimates of a capital cost of $610 million to $783,000 in September 2014, with the latter figure consisting of $610 million plus a contingency of $173 million.

Canberra Metro intends to complete construction in late 2018 and begin operations in early 2019, around a year earlier than previous estimates.

Corbell, Barr, Lynch

Minister for Capital Metro Simon Corbell said the earlier delivery would mean less disruption for Canberrans.

“Critics of light rail have said that we wouldn’t be able to deliver this project for less than a billion dollars but by selecting a bid that will deliver the project under our projected budget and ahead of our projected timeframes we have proven that our business case was conservative in its estimates,” Mr Corbell said.

He said that Canberra Metro’s strategy for a staged removal and replacement of trees would minimize the visual impact along the important entry corridor to the capital.

“The staged approach will mean that as sections of trees are removed, and replaced with 4m-tall plantings, there will only be periods 3-4 months where each section will be without trees.”

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said a decision on stage two of the light rail project, a possible extension to Russell, would be made this year after further discussions with the Federal Government.

“I met with the Prime Minister late last year and following the meeting he has invited the ACT Government to seek federal funding for the Russell extension,” Mr Barr said.

Stage one will consist of 12km of light rail track, 13 stops, 14 light rail vehicles, a depot and 20 years of operation and maintenance. It will operate from as early as 6am and up to 1am with services every six minutes during peak times.

Opposition transport spokesman Alistair Coe said this afternoon that the Government was committing to a light rail tenderer without a mandate.

“I again call on the Barr government to do the right thing and delay the light project until after the 2016 Election so Canberrans can decide how their money is spent,” he said.

However, the then Labor Chief Minister Katy Gallagher announced in September 2012, the month before the last ACT election, that if re-elected, her Government would develop light rail between Gungahlin and Civic. The policy document included this line: “Capital Metro Stage 1 is anticipated to be completed by 2018, with construction estimated to commence in 2016.”

Read Ms Gallagher’s full policy statement on the matter, as published on September 21, 2012, here: www.actlabor.org.au/2012_election_light_rail_policy

The ACT Greens announced their own commitment to light rail in August 2012. See their full policy document here: act.greens.org.au/sites/greens.org.au/files/Light%20Rail.pdf

Immediately after the October 2012 ACT election, then Liberal leader Zed Seselja said his party had “never ruled out light rail”, and that he was “very happy for the work to be done to figure out whether it can work and is achievable”.

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
271 Responses to
Light rail to arrive sooner, cost less and bring more trees to Northbourne
1
dungfungus 8:59 pm
01 Feb 16
#

Can we get a breakdown of the costs?
There seems to be a lot of critical things left out here:
“Stage one will consist of 12km of light rail track, 13 stops, 14 light rail vehicles, a depot and 20 years of operation and maintenance. It will operate from as early as 6am and up to 1am with services every six minutes during peak times.”

2
gooterz 9:13 pm
01 Feb 16
#

Andrew should ask Jeremy to a pistol shoot at dawn or call an election now.
A vote of no confidence would trigger an election. This would clear the prospect of any of the termination clauses out of the equation. The government would them have until 2020 to build the system and operate for 2 years.

3
IdlePeasant 10:03 pm
01 Feb 16
#

Great. How many orgninsations and individuals have to speak out against the current iteration of the light rail plan before people notice it’s a bad idea? The Productivity Commission said it wasn’t viable. Experts that have previously built light rail in Australian cities have stated it isn’t viable. Think-tanks have crunched the numbers and stated it’s not viable – and that’s not counting disproving the rubbish cost-to-benefit document the government published.

Light rail might have a place in Canberra, but we need to ditch the iteration that Labor (or god forbid the version proposed by the Greens) is pushing because it was designed to neither be an adequate or viable transport system. It was always about boosting the land values of private individuals and trying to kick-start dying businesses along the planned route. I really don’t see why rate payers should pay an estimated $8,000 to people who pushed this plan to receive a government welfare handout.

Seriously. One of the very basic concepts of light rail is that you initially build it so traffic is continually flowing in both directions. I’ll never understand how the Government has convinced people that the first link should be between Gungahlin and Civic… It goes against everything that good modern transit planning has taught us. The ACT Governments plan reminds me of city in France that attempted building a rail system which linked an outer suburb with its CDB with the promise that the system would later be linked to other places. It was a massive failure, bankrupted the city and was never expanded. The reason is simple; traffic only flowed in spikes during the morning and night as people went to & from work.

The greatest problem with this whole light-rail saga is that it’s difficult to actually fight against. If you vote for your liberal representative you wind up supporting the greatest travesty this country has seen in the last decade (the butchering of the NBN caused a brain-drain because anyone that isn’t a baby boomer now knows this country has no economic future). Vote for Labor or the Greens and you end up supporting this “plan”.

How are moderates in this city supposed to fight against this? I doubt it will matter anyway. Labor will undoubtedly write the contracts so it’s impossible to pull out of without massive expense. They know that Canberra won’t vote for this plan if they have to wait an extra election cycle. By that time the mis-information will have been exposed.

4
Leon 10:57 pm
01 Feb 16
#

The successful tender includes a capital cost of $698 million with a variance of five per cent. Capital Metro’s Business Case estimated operating costs at $204 million. This would bring the total cost to between $867 and $937 million.

Capital Metro’s Business Case estimated the benefits of light rail at $984 million, including $54 million of public transport operating savings benefit. But on 28 October 2015 Andrew Barr announced that the bus travel displaced by light rail would be reallocated elsewhere in the bus network. This eliminates the public transport operating savings, thus reducing the value of the gross benefits of light rail to $930 million.

The bottom line is that the net benefit of light rail – the amount by which the benefits exceed the cost – will be in the range minus $7 million to plus $63 million.

The Government estimated in 2012 that bus rapid transit would generate $230 million greater net benefits than light rail.

5
rubaiyat 2:07 am
02 Feb 16
#

All those perpetually claiming that this would cost well over a billion and run over time, have really done the Government an enormous favour.

Of course there will be blood flowing down Northbourne Ave from suicide truckies trying to ram it, pedestrians managing to dodge the 6 lanes of cars to wait patiently the 10 minutes for the next tram to pass so they can throw themselves under it, and our children will be sold into slavery so we will have enough money to put petrol on the table, after the whole of the ACT is declared bankrupt…

Now that the End of Days is upon us the ancient, wise burgers of Tuggeranong will be casting themselves and their families off Mt Taylor to spare them the horrors of Electrified Public Transport! 😀

Wo is me, sackcloth and ashes, the heavens will be rent asunder, the horror, the horror, Oh the Humanity!

6
wildturkeycanoe 6:33 am
02 Feb 16
#

“Canberra Metro intends to complete construction in late 2018 and begin operations in early 2019, around a year earlier than previous estimates.”
Two years? They reckon it’ll be complete in two years? The Majura Parkway is about the same length, does not need substations and complicated services relocations, yet has already taken 3 years and still isn’t complete. How do they think they can get a 12km tram line done in 24 months? The road closures, detouring, land acquisitions, tree removal, underground services complexities, power distribution issues and all the rest of the infrastructure just does not seem likely to get done in that time frame.

7
rommeldog56 7:26 am
02 Feb 16
#

gooterz said :

Andrew should ask Jeremy to a pistol shoot at dawn or call an election now.
A vote of no confidence would trigger an election. This would clear the prospect of any of the termination clauses out of the equation. The government would them have until 2020 to build the system and operate for 2 years.

A successful vote of no confidence would need a labor or a greens member to vote against this ACT Labor/Greens Government. That’s no going to happen – unfortunately.

8
rommeldog56 7:32 am
02 Feb 16
#

There is no point in having the pro/anti Tram debate any more. Its a done deal.

Where this actually went wrong is at the ballot box in 2012 when ACT voters voted for the tram proposal without very much knowledge of the detail, the flow on effects to Gov’t Annual Rates & changes and without an integrated transport plan (which is still being backwards re engineered).

Good luck with all this Canberra……your going to need it !

9
dungfungus 7:37 am
02 Feb 16
#

I am a bit confused.
Does the $698 million include the money spent so far (I reckon that would be at least $100 million) and that “lump sum” payment of $375 million to be paid to the contractor on completion of the project?
I realize that critical discussion about the “avant-garde” design of the trams is more important but I am sure there are others who will want to know just how deep this bottomless pit is going to be.

10
miz 7:52 am
02 Feb 16
#

Leon said :

The bottom line is that the ….Government estimated in 2012 that bus rapid transit would generate $230 million greater net benefits than light rail.

They could have spent that money to benefit the entire city, which would have been far better value. Instead they are in la la land and appear unable to see how exclusive, divisive and ‘us and them’ this whole project is. I personally can’t wait to see it binned and hope there will be a large bonfire to celebrate its demise.

11
chewy14 7:55 am
02 Feb 16
#

gooterz said :

Andrew should ask Jeremy to a pistol shoot at dawn or call an election now.
A vote of no confidence would trigger an election. This would clear the prospect of any of the termination clauses out of the equation. The government would them have until 2020 to build the system and operate for 2 years.

A vote of no confidence?

I’m not very confident.

12
dungfungus 8:14 am
02 Feb 16
#

gooterz said :

Andrew should ask Jeremy to a pistol shoot at dawn or call an election now.
A vote of no confidence would trigger an election. This would clear the prospect of any of the termination clauses out of the equation. The government would them have until 2020 to build the system and operate for 2 years.

“A vote of no confidence would trigger an election.”
Two chances on this happening, none and Buckley’s.

13
dungfungus 8:34 am
02 Feb 16
#

wildturkeycanoe said :

“Canberra Metro intends to complete construction in late 2018 and begin operations in early 2019, around a year earlier than previous estimates.”
Two years? They reckon it’ll be complete in two years? The Majura Parkway is about the same length, does not need substations and complicated services relocations, yet has already taken 3 years and still isn’t complete. How do they think they can get a 12km tram line done in 24 months? The road closures, detouring, land acquisitions, tree removal, underground services complexities, power distribution issues and all the rest of the infrastructure just does not seem likely to get done in that time frame.

They will specify quick-set concrete and fast dry paint to be used?

14
dungfungus 8:45 am
02 Feb 16
#

Is their scope in the design layout of the German engineered Spanish trams to include tapas bars for Canberra’s new age transit hipsters?

15
JC 10:14 am
02 Feb 16
#

wildturkeycanoe said :

The Majura Parkway is about the same length, does not need substations and complicated services relocations, yet has already taken 3 years and still isn’t complete. How do they think they can get a 12km tram line done in 24 months? The road closures, detouring, land acquisitions, tree removal, underground services complexities, power distribution issues and all the rest of the infrastructure just does not seem likely to get done in that time frame.

The Majura Parkway required two massive bridges over the Molonglo and a viaduct along the RMC ovals connected to two more sizeable bridges that crossed an existing road, that is what has taken time. It also required complex relocation of existing road ‘services’ to minimise disruption.

As for light rail, what land acquisitions are required? It is all down the median strip of Northborne Ave and Flemmington Road, with the depot on government owned land in Mitchell near Totalcare.

Diversions and road closures? What diversions and road closures? Most of the construction is down the median strip of Northborne Ave and Flemmington Road. Sure when it crosses other roads there will need to be some, but doubt it will be any worse or complex than any other road works project. Unlike Sydney for example where it is being built on existing carriageways which does require mass closures and diversions.

So really two years seems reasonable for this project.

1 2 3 19

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au

Search across the site