Sydney bus lanes to close


Buses lose the right of way with light rail preparation work to start early in Sydney’s CBD

Preparation work for Sydney’s light rail project will start earlier than expected, with bus lanes in Sydney’s CBD to close in October.

This will inevitably cause traffic delays for CBD bus operators, but is welcome news to retailers concerned about the works affecting their sales.

The early closure of bus lanes in George Street will ensure this phase of construction is finished prior to the peak shopping season.

New South Wales minister for transport and infrastructure Andrew Constance says critical investigative works on George Street will be brought forward to create more space for shoppers and retailers in the lead-up to Christmas.

"With new routes taking buses off George Street on October 4, we’ve heard the concerns and are doing work as early as possible to reduce disruption when shoppers are ramping up for the festive season," he says.

"This allows the project to undertake selected low-impact works prior to Christmas, while still staying on schedule to also deliver a pedestrian precinct in the area before next Christmas.

"George Street will be a different place, but still be very much open for business."

Drivers are encouraged to re-time journeys outside the peak, detour around the city, or use public transport.

Minister for roads Duncan Gay says George Street will be closed to all motorists between Market and King Streets from October 23.

"The work we’re starting on October 5 is complex so we’re getting it out of the way first," he says.

"We’re ensuring the Christmas boom for businesses, all while the work on each section, which is expected to take about nine months, is underway.

Tightly controlled work zones, increased pedestrian access, lower impact hoardings and mid-block pedestrian crossings are also planned to reduce the impact during the light rail construction period.

Trip planning will be added to MySydney.nsw.gov.au to prepare all road users on the best way to navigate the city during construction.

Meanwhile, a contract for an advisor for the Newcastle Light Rail project has gone to tender, calling for an organisation with experience in light rail systems.

This tender represents the next step towards delivering light rail and follows geotechnical investigations that took place earlier this year.

It is hoped the Newcastle’s light rail network will help reignite economic confidence in the region, boost jobs and grow visitor numbers.

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