THE South Australian Government last week announced the release of a detailed analysis of the O-Bahn City Access Project, including the response to extensive consultation with community and stakeholders.
Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan said the Project Impact Report signalled the next stage of the project, which will support about 450 jobs during design and construction.
"The report shows that our primary objectives - to significantly improve travel times for more than 31,000 O-Bahn bus passengers and more than 70,000 vehicles which travel this part of the city ring route - will be achieved through this project," Mr Mullighan said.
"The report states that in the evening peak it can take more than 20 minutes to travel the 1.45 kilometres between Hackney Road and Grenfell Street, which not only hampers the O-Bahn's reliability but also delays all traffic including O-Bahn buses."
Mr Mullighan said the report also addressed issues raised during community consultation, which informed the revised design announced in June.
"The project now reduces the impact on the parklands and increases parking in the East End based on feedback from the community, as well as giving motorists and buses on Hackney Road a better run into the city," he said.
"The Project Impact Report also shows the safety benefits with the changes to Hackney Road, including fewer accidents anticipated on this part of the city ring route."
Mr Mullighan said the O-Bahn City Access Project would support hundreds of jobs in the construction, professional and technical services industries, as well as material suppliers.
"Combined with other major projects, the O-Bahn tunnel will help build confidence in the local construction sector," he said.
"Together with the North-South Corridor projects, Adelaide Convention Centre and the Royal Adelaide Hospital, these projects are supporting thousands of local jobs.
"As with all major infrastructure projects, 20 percent of the total labour hours will be carried out by apprentices and trainees, Aboriginal workers and people facing barriers to employment, while industry participation requirements will ensure as much of the work as possible goes to local contractors and workers."
The Chief Executive of Master Builders SA, John Stokes, said the tunnel project was sending the right message for private sector confidence.
"This project creates jobs when many businesses are reporting a slowing of demand, it creates demand for skilled workers who might otherwise look for opportunities interstate, and its proposed path through urban environments will draw upon some of the best expertise that our industry offers," he said
The Civil Contractors Federation Chief Phil Sutherland welcomed the project and said it came at a time when private investment in infrastructure was at a historic low.
"The State Government is to be commended for filling the gap with publicly funded projects which generate much-needed work for civil contractors, create hundreds of jobs and stimulate the economy more widely," he said.
Todd Hacking from Cement, Concrete and Aggregates Australia said the original O-Bahn project had transformed public transport in Adelaide.
"The 650-metre concrete tunnel that will make this project a reality is a much-needed infrastructure project that will support the heavy construction materials industry at a time when private infrastructure and residential construction is soft," he said.
The Project Impact Report also outlines the future steps in the approval process. The report is available from the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure website at <http://www.infrastructure.sa.gov.au/public_transport_projects/o-bahn_city_access>.