STAGE one of Canberra's light rail project is ready to begin construction following approvals from the National Capital Authority and the ACT Environment and Planning Directorate, Minister for Capital Metro Simon Corbell announced last week.
The approved amendments to the development application by EPD and receipt of the works approval from the NCA means construction is ready to start as soon as contracts are finalised.
Mr Corbell said the open and transparent way the project has been undertaken has resulted in improvements to the designs, including adjustments based on concerns by bed and breakfast owners along Northbourne Avenue.
"After extensive consultation with the Canberra community, the Capital Metro Agency and NCA have developed solutions to improve access along Swinden Street and Antill Street in Dickson," Mr Corbell said.
"These approved changes include an extra entry point into Swinden Street from Northbourne Avenue, providing easier access for residents and businesses, as well as improvements to the entry point off Antill Street by widening the road to allow safer access for motorists.
"This means there will be two entry and exit points into the Northbourne Avenue Service Road, either side of Swinden Street, as well as entry via Antill Street and Phillip Avenue.
"The changes to the designs will maintain ease of access for residents and customers while minimising the use of the area as a rat-run route, creating a safer, more convenient environment."
The approved works also includes changes to traffic arrangements along the corridor, including removal of a right hand turn on Rudd Street off Northbourne Avenue, and a number of new signalised intersections along Northbourne Avenue.
"The approved DA amendments, which relate to the design enhancements made by the Canberra Metro consortium, allow better access for visitors to entertainment venues like EPIC and Thoroughbred Park with design changes along Flemington Road," Mr Corbell said.
"The amendments also include minimal changes to landscaping of the light rail depot, substations and construction compounds, as well as minor adjustments to kerbs, roads, and pedestrian area.
"These planning approvals support our design which captures our vision of a changing city to help it move, live and grow, while providing a safe and accessible customer experience along the corridor.
"Transport is an important challenge for all cities and Canberra is no different. The delivery of light rail will not only help get people out of their cars and onto public transport, but also provide the foundations to help re-develop urban spaces, increase social and economic participation, and revitalise our main gateway to the city."