London Circuit to be raised as Government moves ahead with light rail Stage 2A

Ian Bushnell 13 September 2019 64

Artist’s impression of the proposed City South station at London Circuit and Commonwealth Avenue. Images: Supplied.

The ACT Government plans to kill two birds with one stone by incorporating the raising of London Circuit to connect with Commonwealth Avenue into the next stage of light rail to Commonwealth Park, as part of its ambition to bring the City to Lake Burley Griffin.

The Government announced on Tuesday that Cabinet had approved the business case for Stage 2A and it would now start one-on-one negotiations with the operator of Stage 1, Canberra Metro, for it to design and build the 1.7 km-long project, which remains subject to Commonwealth approval.

It said contracts could be signed as soon as the middle of next year, with construction starting in 2021 and the first passengers boarding in 2024.

But the Government is unable to provide any cost figures due to the coming commercial negotiations with Canberra Metro.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said it made sense to continue with the existing operator, which had ‘skin in the game’ and was familiar with the environment.

Stage 2A, from Alinga Street to Commonwealth Park, just north of Lake Burley Griffin, is seen as a springboard for the more challenging Stage 2B through the Parliamentary Zone and will include three new stations and add an estimated 2500 to 3000 passengers to the system.

City West, on the corner of Edinburgh Avenue and London Circuit near the ANU, is expected to be the most popular station, with City South servicing the new residential areas of West Basin, and the southern terminus important for major events in Commonwealth Park and by the lake.

The proposed Commonwealth Park Station.

The journey from Alinga Street to Commonwealth Park is expected to take six minutes.

Mr Barr said including the raising of London Circuit to create a level intersection was a ‘clever sensible way to achieve two really good urban design outcomes’.

“This London Circuit project now will enable that southern part of the city to be more accessible to people and connect ultimately through a connection over Parkes Way to West Basin,” he said.

“This is bringing the City to the Lake, and also combines our thinking with improved public transport access by aligning the second stage of light rail with that project.”

Transport and City Services Minister Chris Steel called it a once in a lifetime opportunity to connect London Circuit with Commonwealth Avenue at the same level to provide an access point for the light rail line but also better connections for walkers and cyclists through to the Acton waterfront.

City Renewal Authority chief Malcolm Snow said the idea, which has been in the National Capital Plan since 2007, had been an aspiration of Government for some time and talked about since the early 2000s.

“The road design dates back to a time when traffic engineers placed priority on cars,” he said. “Successful cities also place priority in the way in which other modes can negotiate and travel around the city, and that’s fundamental particularly to our active waterfront project but also to broader renewal effort for the city centre.”

Mr Steel said the light rail network would need extra rolling stock for the extra leg and the Government would be starting negotiations for four more light rail vehicles.

He said construction would mean disruption to businesses and commuters but the Government was working to minimise this. It has already been engaging with businesses along the route and would ensure that there would be access points for commuters into the city, such as extending Edinburgh Avenue from London Circuit through to Vernon circle.

The corner of Northbourne Avenue and London Circuit.

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) referral for Stage 2A will be updated in coming weeks to include the London Circuit project but there had not been any response so far from the Commonwealth on both 2A and 2B.

The Public Transport Association of Canberra (PTCBR) welcomed the Government’s decision to proceed with Stage 2A and the inclusion of the London Circuit project.

Interim chair Ryan Hemsley said it was good to see action being taken after a few too many delays.

“Commencing construction on the leg between Alinga Street and Commonwealth Park is the first important step towards bringing fast, frequent, reliable and attractive public transport to Canberra’s south, and will help retain the skilled workforce acquired during the construction of Stage One,” he said.

On the London Circuit plan, Mr Hemsley said it was good to see work planned over a decade ago was finally coming to fruition.

“This will be a really good addition to the urban amenity of the city and it finally closes the horseshoe of the city. No longer do you have to go all the way north to go all the way south,” he said.

“This is finally going to make that connection possible for pedestrians and motor vehicles and cyclists.”


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45 Responses to London Circuit to be raised as Government moves ahead with light rail Stage 2A
Lyndon Zoukowski Lyndon Zoukowski 3:08 pm 11 Sep 19

Looks great, glad to see an infrastructure vision for the ACT. 🤫👍

Colin Vivian Colin Vivian 8:47 am 11 Sep 19

So Barr’s determined to lock ratepayers into another huge debt for a track to nowhere if stage 2B not approved weeks before going to a 2020 election? Another politician who should be in gaol like Napthine for signing Victoria up to a $3b contract weeks before an election. No wonder Barr’s dragging his feet on his promised ACT ICAC.

Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 6:10 am 11 Sep 19

I am surprised none of the haters have notice the overhead wires in the render and got their knickers in a knot over it.

    Colin Vivian Colin Vivian 8:09 am 11 Sep 19

    Ashley Wright you didn’t notice the lack of traffic lights. Russian roulette for 3 lanes of traffic?

    PS - what a farce if overhead wires go to end of stage 2 and you then need to change Trams to go any further.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 8:44 am 11 Sep 19

    Colin Vivian there are traffic lights. Euro style.

    As for the overhead must admit it makes sense to run it on the north side of the lake.

    What I found interesting is talk has been is the next stage was meant to be wire free from the current terminus to Adelaide Ave bit the render shows wires.

    Now I am not silly enough to think the render is a reflection this has changed just thought it amusing.

    Ps regardless of where wire free starts there will be no need to change. The current trams are designed to have the battery pack simply dropped in.

    Colin Vivian Colin Vivian 9:26 am 11 Sep 19

    Ashley Wright I also found it amusing that they can suddenly paint the concrete green when it reaches Commonwealth Ave but Northbourne is an ugly concrete scar. Let’s just hope the artists rendering is more accurate than West Basin consultation that showed a grassed walkway over Parkes Way and Aquatic centre. Both of which have now disappeared.

    Does that explain the relative lack of space in the carriages? Floor raised for batteries? I’m also surprised as someone on the project team rang me early on to explain that the reason they couldn’t choose wireless Trams for stage 1 was that there was only one manufacturer and it wouldn’t be competitive if they specified that.

Larissa Watson Larissa Watson 8:37 pm 10 Sep 19

Brendan Bisa have fun 😏

Denise Wilson Denise Wilson 7:41 pm 10 Sep 19

This pic is rather confusing at the ramp to the parkway using visible, and the London Circuit ramp looks just the same as we have now, cannot see where they’ve raised it . . . Guess it’s all smoke and mirrors . . . 🤪😩🤪😩

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 6:09 am 11 Sep 19

    Denise Wilson either side of that ramp is where it is filled to bring the land up to the same height as the ramp. In the pic that land looks like grass with snow on it.

    Denise Wilson Denise Wilson 1:22 pm 11 Sep 19

    Ashley Wright interesting . . . From what I’ve read the grassy bits of the last two ramps have been earmarked for more apartments so not sure what raising London will do you those plans . . . Personally as a city apartment resident I’m not sure why we need more as the latest sales information suggests there has been a dramatic fall in sales of them . . .

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 4:22 pm 12 Sep 19

    Denise Wilson when you said ramp I thought you were talking about the one down from commonwealth Ave to London cct near the QT hotel. I believe the fill will basically follow the slope of that and fill in London cct under commonwealth Ave.

    You are right the clover leaf ramps are going and yes the plan was to build on them.

    Though just because they do this doesn’t mean the land needs to or will be built on soon. Who knows by the time it is all ready the market may have picked up again. Forward planning.

    Denise Wilson Denise Wilson 4:55 pm 12 Sep 19

    Ashley Wright your right, who knows how long it may take, but it feels like we live in a dust bowl with constant construction happening around our building and city, which is starting to affect our health and I’m not sure we want to be here when these new things commence. As a born and bred Canberran it’s hard to see the bush capital of old . . . I’m not sure we’d find a buyer for our place so we could leave either . . . .

James Kidd James Kidd 7:12 pm 10 Sep 19

We will tell them what we want to do and they will do something different!

Evan Hawke Evan Hawke 6:48 pm 10 Sep 19

I just can’t figure out why Andrew Bar was all about making the link between Gungahlin and the city as fast as possible, and then for the tram from the city to Woden it’s a milk run picking up as many pearls as possibly along the way. It’s going to be faster to ride a bicycle from Woden to the city then catching the tram. Just imagine how much money the tax payer would save on stage two if the tram went around Vernon Circle and then continued along the current bus route to Woden. I’m guessing that the trip would be 15-20minutes faster.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 6:05 am 11 Sep 19

    Evan Hawke the trip to Gungahlin is not as fast as it could be. Light rail and the buses that replaced them have always been stop start services rather than express like to Woden. If a non stop service was run it could do it in the same time as Woden to City.

    What light rail did though was reduce the peak hour run time of those buses from 40-45 minutes to closer to 25.

    If you want a better analogy to Woden look to Belconnen. Years ago the then 333’s buses to the city took 15 minutes. Their subsequent replacements were then re-routed up College Street and Haydon Drive with extra stops. That change plus the changes in the city near the ANU have cost the service 10 minutes but as you put it it is now picking up and servicing as many pearls on the way as it can. Which for the most part is what public transport is meant to do.

    The changes to Woden will add about the same amount of time for city commuters but for those who work in the triangle it will be a big reduction in time.

    Anthony Grice Anthony Grice 7:46 am 11 Sep 19

    Evan Hawke he owed them for the decade long, single lane 1 road in and out

William William William William 6:44 pm 10 Sep 19

The government all ready has the money that is paid in land taxes has been for past 20 so years back in 1985 when Mitchell was being built they were going to include light rail but every elected party blackmailed the voters in believing they would get it but never ever did was only the get votes

Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 6:44 pm 10 Sep 19

Gawd. Two years of traffic chaos on some of the city's most crucial roads and intersections.

Iaian Ross Iaian Ross 6:41 pm 10 Sep 19

London Circuit already has two connections with Commonwealth Avenue that are used informally by pedestrians. There's room in the middle of the clover leaves to fit a station nicely in there. Would eliminate that "wasted space".

    William William William William 6:48 pm 10 Sep 19

    Iaian Ross even japan is optimistic to light rail is going Mega Rail ? Is cheaper no need cut down trees. Own power systems. Have engineers worked on them in my retirement village here all Europe has.

    Colin Vivian Colin Vivian 8:09 am 11 Sep 19

    Iaian Ross and waste all that land they can sell for apartments? That would destroy the “business case”.

Marc Edwards Marc Edwards 6:30 pm 10 Sep 19

Pity the Public haven’t had a chance to vote on this alignment and changes to the road network.

    Lori J Tas Lori J Tas 6:36 pm 10 Sep 19

    Marc Edwards they will between now and when it is started

    Marc Edwards Marc Edwards 6:38 pm 10 Sep 19

    LJ Tas they will have signed us up before then

David Newman David Newman 6:26 pm 10 Sep 19

Has anyone noticed that the picture shows that the Melbourne and Sydney buildings are not shown? 😂

    Chris Bennett Chris Bennett 6:31 pm 10 Sep 19

    I assume they trimmed them out at the lower angle for visibility

    David Newman David Newman 6:37 pm 10 Sep 19

    Ah, now I see. The intersection shown is the City South, not where the Melb and Syd buildings are, which just means that they are going to add ANOTHER intersection with lights onto Commonwealth Ave, south of Vernon Circle. And that is going to help traffic flow how???

    Brian McKenzie Brian McKenzie 6:41 pm 10 Sep 19

    David Newman it is looking toward City Hill from the lake. You can see the Lakeside on the left

    Chris Bennett Chris Bennett 7:33 pm 10 Sep 19

    They don't care about traffic flow. They only care about Tram flow. They've made that abundantly clear

Victoria Edmonds Victoria Edmonds 6:13 pm 10 Sep 19

It's an investment worth making. I fully support the extension to Woden/Tuggernong etc. Big infrastructure projects cost money but the longer term benefits are worth it.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:58 am 11 Sep 19

    Maria Greene your buses were not stuffed to pay for the Northside tram as you put it. No money was cut from the buses when the new network came in, in actual fact more money was put in because the new network has more buses than before.

    I won’t argue that the network may well have had a negative impact on you, but the statement that the changes were cost cutting to pay for the tram are an absolute nonsense.

    Justin Watson Justin Watson 11:25 am 11 Sep 19

    Maria Greene That is the problem. You have no idea about how the budget works and how they financed the tram or buses. You've jumped to a conclusion and this makes it easy for politicians to manipulate people and win their vote. Is the bus networks stuffed? Sounds like it, but people were asking for faster more direct and frequent buses and thats what they got. In fact, it was a Liberal plan that the Labor Party "borrowed". Now its implemented and people don't like it. But the Tram budget had nothing to do with buses at all.

Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 6:09 pm 10 Sep 19

It has to be done. First stage in the link to Tuggeranong

Sharon Bishop Sharon Bishop 6:02 pm 10 Sep 19

But how much is it going to cost???

    Andrew Connelly Andrew Connelly 6:04 pm 10 Sep 19

    20-30 million i believe. More rate increases for ACT residences i'm guessing as well.

    Sharon Bishop Sharon Bishop 6:06 pm 10 Sep 19

    Andrew Connelly I think you may be correct about the rate increases. If it's so good why haven't we seen the business case and costings.

    Richard Flanigan Richard Flanigan 6:09 pm 10 Sep 19

    Sharon Bishop , who cares, it will give Andrew a bigger train set. 🤬

    Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 6:27 pm 10 Sep 19

    Richard Flanigan

    So are you suggesting the Southside should miss out?

    Andrew Connelly Andrew Connelly 6:29 pm 10 Sep 19

    the Government is unable to provide any cost figures due to the coming commercial negotiations with Canberra Metro.

    They have announced it before releasing the costings. What does that tell you? :)

    Lori J Tas Lori J Tas 6:37 pm 10 Sep 19

    Sharon Bishop because the business case has only just been approved, it will be able to be made public now.

    They will only know the costs once the negotiation is complete, then that can be released.

    Richard Flanigan Richard Flanigan 6:59 pm 10 Sep 19

    Stephen Page-Murray yep.

    Louis Sotiropoulos Louis Sotiropoulos 8:56 pm 10 Sep 19

    Sharon Bishop the business case is being released next week I think, but they said it is going to be heavily redacted. They don't release the costings, will sign up with massive cancellation penalties, all before the election.

    Anura Samara Anura Samara 9:20 pm 10 Sep 19

    Andrew Connelly I'm not sure how they're supposed to come up with the cost before negotiating with the lead contractor. It's like putting a price on building a new house before you've spoken to an architect or builder!

    Colin Vivian Colin Vivian 8:19 am 11 Sep 19

    Andrew Connelly much more than that. Divulged construction costs for stage 1 were $870m (whole of life $1.78billon) for 12km. So at least $125m for 1.7km but the need to raise London Circuit will add many millions more.

    Colin Vivian Colin Vivian 8:25 am 11 Sep 19

    Anura Samara no it’s like engaging an architect who shows you a sketch plan and tells you he has no idea how much it will cost but will complete the detailed design, secretly contract a builder (no tenders) and will give you the bill when it’s finished.

    Care to explain how you do a business case without any financial figures?

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