Media Release: Transport for NSW
4 September 2014
Local jobs for Newcastle light rail planning contract as geotechnical works begin
Minister for Transport and Minister for the Hunter Gladys Berejiklian today announced that a combined team of Newcastle-based experts will prepare an environmental impact assessment for the Newcastle Light Rail project, as geotechnical works begin.
“The NSW Government is getting on with the job of delivering important infrastructure projects for this state, and this is another important stage in the revitalisation of Newcastle,” Ms Berejiklian said during a visit to Newcastle today.
The next stage in delivering light rail will begin soon with detailed environmental studies to be undertaken by locally-based companies GHD and RPS Manidis Roberts.
The work includes technical studies, field investigations and consultation with the community to identify the possible impacts and mitigations for construction and operation of light rail. This will help identify strategies to minimise community and environmental impacts.
“These experienced companies will undertake the studies and investigations required as part of the planning approval process,” Ms Berejiklian said.
The companies have previously worked on the Inner West Light Rail Extension in Sydney and Canberra’s Capital Metro light rail service, as well as major transport projects in the Hunter. The contract was awarded following a competitive open tender.
The environmental assessment studies will include heritage, visual and urban design, noise and vibration, social impacts, air quality and traffic, and access.
Ms Berejiklian also announced today that geotechnical works will begin this weekend along the light rail route to assess above and below ground conditions and identify services including electrical, telecommunications and stormwater.
“This work will provide important information to feed into the Newcastle Light Rail design and planning work,” she said.
“Newcastle light rail will provide a service through the CBD, connecting the new transport interchange at Wickham with the beach.
“Newcastle residents and businesses have said they want better access to the waterfront, improved public domain and the option to extend the light rail in the future.
“The light rail route will deliver customers to a number of new stops, and will serve the main activity areas of the city and improve connections so locals and visitors can enjoy all that Newcastle has to offer.
“During the environmental planning process, consultation will play an important role in finalising the design for Newcastle Light Rail.”
Ms Berejiklian said this consultation will build on engagement already undertaken during the public display of the Review of Environmental Factors (REF) for the Wickham Transport Interchange.
“The Wickham Transport Interchange REF was on public display throughout August and the project team have received over 260 submissions,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“I am really pleased with the response we have received from the community during this consultation period. Transport for NSW will now consider the issues raised in submissions and will respond to community feedback.
“Together, these projects represent a significant investment in the Hunter region demonstrating this Government’s recognition of the important role the region has to play in the economic future of NSW.”