Calls To Extend Proposed Canberra Light Rail

Two weeks ago, Simon Corbell, the ACT’s Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, announced two senior appointments to the Capital Metro project.

“The Independent Chair of the Capital Metro Project Board is John Fitzgerald, while the Capital Metro Project Director is Emma Thomas,” said Mr Corbell in a media release.

“Their appointments follow an exhaustive recruitment process, and will bring a wealth of experience and talent to this transformative project.”

Both appointees have extensive experience in managing major infrastructure projects and in senior management at agency and board levels. It is experience that the project sorely needs if it is to get off the ground. As we mentioned in an earlier post, Infrastructure Australia was not convinced that the project was of “national significance” and the ACT Government had to work up a revised submission.

However, if the project is green-lighted it will be welcome news to the Canberra construction recruitment sector and Canberra labour hire candidates, particularly if the project is expanded.

Recently, there have been calls for the proposed Capital Metro to be extended. The Canberra Airport Group has proposed that light rail services be built between Civic, Canberra’s CBD, the parliamentary triangle and out to the airport. Currently, the proposal is focused on easing congestion along Northbourne Avenue and is limited in scope to a light rail link between Gungahlin in the City’s north and Civic.

The Canberra Airport Group is proposing a vastly more extensive network covering the entire metropolitan area of Canberra.

Stage 1 of the Group’s proposed extension would link the airport with Civic and the NewActon residential precinct on the northern shores of Lake Burley Griffin. The route would pass by the Royal Military College, the Australian Defence Force Academy, the Defence and ASIO Headquarters in Russell and the City’s new Convention Centre.

Stage 2 has been termed the Bridge to Bridge. The proposed route would take in the Capital’s cultural institutions and High Court on the southern side of the lake before returning via Anzac Parade to Civic.

The Stage 3 Eastern Loop links the airport, the Parliamentary circle and the popular southern suburbs of Manuka and Kingston.

ACT Sustainable Development Minister said that the Group’s proposal would be investigated as part of the Government’s master planning process. The master plan will also look at how any extended light rail network would get trams across Lake Burley Griffin. The two options likely to be examined are altering the existing bridge infrastructure to cope with the light rail and building a third bridge.

Whatever the outcome of the Government’s master plan, the Capital Metro project represents a boon to Canberrans and the Canberra contract labour sector.