The full extent of the project to raise London Circuit as a precursor to extending light rail to Commonwealth Park is now open to scrutiny with plans lodged with the National Capital Authority now open for public consultation.
The ACT Government said this is an important milestone in its long-term plans to take light rail to Woden, the first leg of which is the 1.7km extension from Alinga Street to Commonwealth Park along London Circuit and Commonwealth Avenue.
“The project will transform the southern end of the CBD from an untraversable road interchange, into people-oriented streets for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport,” said ACT Minister for Transport Chris Steel.
Three works approvals covering the London Circuit project and an environmental assessment are now available to examine during the next month or so.
A consultation report and decision is not likely until February 2022, with construction expected to start in April and last for two years.
Instead of the current underpass, London Circuit will be reconstructed using 60,000 cubic metres of fill on either side of Commonwealth Avenue, lifting the road six metres to form a four-way intersection with traffic lights, and with sufficient space to accommodate light rail.
London Circuit, between Commonwealth Avenue and Constitution Avenue, will also be rebuilt to accommodate potential future expansion of the light rail network.
The existing ramps to the northwest and southwest of the London Circuit-Commonwealth Avenue interchange will be removed and the ramp to the southeast modified to remove the connection with London Circuit and retain the connection between Parkes Way and Commonwealth Avenue.
There will be temporary works on Vernon Circle to widen the existing northern road loop around City Hill, between London Circuit and City Hill, and create a dedicated bus lane and separate vehicle lane. New traffic lights will enable northbound vehicles to safely turn right into City East.
Traffic lights are also proposed for the Parkes Way and Coranderrk Street roundabout to handle weekday morning peak traffic.
Three site compounds on city car parks will support the project: part of the car park on Block 1, Section 116; City Block 2 and City Block 3, Section 20; and Acton Block 24, Section 33.
The environmental assessment says there would be minor to moderate increases to traffic congestion, delays and travel times, while buses could experience moderate to major travel time increases due to increased congestion on London Circuit and lower speed limits along Commonwealth Avenue.
It says two northbound lanes and two southbound lanes could be maintained on Commonwealth Avenue, as well as footpaths and on-road cycle paths, but a worst-case construction scenario that includes the loss of a northbound lane has been modelled and assessed.
The ACT Government says Canberrans will face four years of traffic disruption during the course of the light rail Stage 2A project.
The main biodiversity impact is on the endangered golden sun moth (Synemon plana) and mitigation plans have been approved under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
About 100 mature trees will need to be cleared, however post-construction more than 130 trees will be planted.
Early preparatory works for raising London Circuit are already underway, including moving underground utilities from their current position along London Circuit to a new alignment on Constitution Avenue, Vernon Circle and Edinburgh Avenue.
Subject to approvals, construction would commence around April 2022 and take about two years to complete.
The National Capital Authority said the consultation report and decision would likely take until February 2022.
To view the plans and comment, visit the National Capital Authority. Consultation closes on 10 December, 2021.