A CITY to Russell extension option will be included in the Request for Proposal for the first stage of Canberra's light rail network in response to strong support from the community and local business, Minister for Capital Metro, Simon Corbell, announced last week.
Four consortia have submitted expressions of interest in building the first stage of Canberra's proposed Capital Metro light rail system, with shortlisting for the Request for Proposal stage expected to occur by the end of March.
"The ACT Government will ask consortia to include the extension as an option in their proposals following strong support from the ACT community and the local business industry," Mr Corbell said, adding that a decision on the extension's viability can then be made based on detailed commercial costings.
"Should the extension to Russell be included as part of stage one it will provide an extra 5600 trips per day, an increase in patronage of more than 30 percent."
According to the government, the proposed extension will provide a direct link all the way from Russell to Gungahlin via the busy retail and business centres of City and Dickson. The extension from Alinga Street to Russell would be via London Circuit and Constitution Avenue, where current upgrade work has already been designed to be light rail-ready.
"The 3.2km extension would provide four additional stops – three along the corridor and a terminus at Russell – that would link the CBD with the 8000 employees in the Defence precinct," Mr Corbell said.
"This would add not only extra passengers in the peak travel times but would also provide a viable and attractive option for workers to make trips to and from Russell during the day, providing a boost for the retail industry in the CBD and along the light rail route."
The ACT Government has already committed to a City to Gungahlin light rail line as the first stage of a highly integrated public transport network that will be rolled out to the whole city.
A Light Rail Master Plan is currently being developed to look at future stages of the light rail network, ensuring that light rail and buses work seamlessly together to provide a sustainable transport solution that offers frequent, reliable and accessible services city-wide.
"Announcing Russell as an option to be considered as part of the Capital Metro project demonstrates the ACT Government's commitment to delivering a city-wide network," Mr Corbell said.
Photo: Artist's impression of light rail on Flemington Road, Canberra / Capital Metro.