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he proposed Melbourne Metro rail tunnel will still deliver passengers into the city centre, despite the Napthine government's recent decision to scrap plans to tunnel beneath Swanston Street.
It was revealed this week that the government is considering realigning the $9-11 billion rail tunnel so that it runs through Fishermans Bend south-west of the CBD, radically rewriting the script for Victoria's biggest public transport project.
Melbourne's lord mayor Robert Doyle said shifting Melbourne Metro west would be a "100-year catastrophe for the city" and urged the state government to recommit to the route that was originally proposed.
"The Berlin Wall was a 30-year mistake but not building Metro One in the original way it was designed would be a 100-year catastrophe for our city," Cr Doyle told Jon Faine on 774 ABC on Wednesday.
"We need that underground station [in Parkville] as part of Metro One right in the heart of where our new cancer centre will be, our research precinct, the University of Melbourne, the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the Royal Women's Hospital, it's just crucial that we service that with a large underground rail station," he said.
The original Melbourne Metro alignment ran from South Kensington to South Yarra via the city centre, with stations at Arden in North Melbourne, Parkville, CBD North next to Melbourne Central, CBD South next to Flinders Street station and Domain on St Kilda Road.
It was first proposed as part of Sir Rod Eddington's 2008 east-west transport needs report, which also proposed building the east-west link road.
It is understood the new proposed alignment would skip Parkville's university and hospitals precinct in favour of a pathway through the city's west.
"The Metro rail capacity project aims to add capacity on the network by building new rail lines that bring people to the city," a Napthine government spokeswoman said.
"Significant planning work has revealed that the original alignment for Metro rail would cause significant disruption to Swanston Street, Melbourne's busiest tram route, under both the cut and cover and the deeper alignment options.
"Other options are now being looked at to minimise this disruption as well as take into consideration the CBD's expansion to the west, such as potentially including Fishermans Bend."
Fishermans Bend is the site for a proposed new suburb as part of a huge urban renewal project being pursued by the Napthine government, predicted to house 80,000 residents and 40,000 jobs within 50 years.
Estimated at $9-11 billion, Melbourne Metro was judged as ready to proceed by Infrastructure Australia, the federal advisory body on infrastructure spending.
The Napthine government has spent $49.5 million on planning for the project, which Premier Denis Napthine said on Monday had led to its decision to scrap plans to tunnel under Swanston Street, to avoid two years of severe disruption in the city.
But Cr Doyle said the benefits of Metro rail justified any short-term pain.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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