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A SUPERFAST rail link from Adelaide to Mt Barker would relieve travel woes for motorists, capitalise on tourism and prepare for population growth, according to a South Australian transport expert.
Former senior Transport Department bureaucrat Luigi Rossi, who has guided some of the state’s biggest infrastructure projects, has proposed a $1 billion fast rail connecting the city to the Hills, taking just 22 minutes and reaching a maximum speed of 160km/h.
Mr Rossi spoke at Mount Barker Council on Monday night about the renaissance of rail needed as the South Eastern Freeway neared its capacity.
“We see this as far more than a just a public transport project, we see this driving economic growth, housing affordability and lifestyle,” he said.
There were two options proposed for a rail link to Mt Barker. The first included using the existing rail corridor from Belair to Mt Barker and removing freight trains.
It would cost $50-$100 million with a travel time of 50 minutes. That cheapest option would be reliant on the Northern Freight Bypass being completed.
If it was upgraded to allow for tilting trains it would cost $250-$300 million, although speeds would still be restricted because of bends in the route.
The second and more beneficial option, according to Mr Rossi, was for a new rail corridor to deviate after Mitcham station and follow Brownhill Creek, including construction of viaducts.
The South Eastern Freeway’s median strip would then be used from Stirling right through to Mt Barker, with a total project cost estimated at $1 billion.
Engineer and project proponent Edwin Michell told the meeting: “This is a very achievable engineering project and well within the capability of what has been achieved already in Australia and SA”.
The council will consider funding a feasibility study for the project in the next two months.
This article first appeared on www.adelaidenow.com.au
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