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Sydney tram plans announced

Premier Barry O'Farrell and Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian has announced that light rail would be built through the Sydney CBD to Randwick and Kingsford to reduce congestion and revitalise the city. The estimated AUD1.6 billion 12km light rail project will link Circular Quay and Central via George Street, the Moore Park sporting and entertainment precinct including the Sydney Cricket Ground and Allianz Stadium, Randwick Racecourse, the University of NSW and Prince of Wales Hospital at Randwick. Around 40 per cent of George Street would be pedestrianised, between Bathurst Street and Hunter Street, for light rail - meaning 60 per cent of George Street would still be accessible to private vehicles.

Light rail would form part of an integrated transport solution to fix congestion in the CBD which includes a redesigned bus network and train improvements outlined in Sydney's Rail Future. Bus improvements to be rolled out include improved bus interchanges in the city, more cross-city Metro style routes, reconfigured bus stops and higher priority for buses to move people through the city faster. The NSW Government will build light rail down George Street and to the south east as a single project to speed up delivery of this crucial infrastructure and save significant costs.

Detailed work will now be undertaken to determine the final timetable for construction, which early analysis suggests will take five or six years. Work is expected to begin in 2014. Paul Broad, the chief executive of Infrastructure NSW, whose rival idea for an underground CBD bus tunnel was rejected, said he supported the plan.

13 December 2012

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