By Paul Hemsley
Canberra’s long awaited light rail project is gaining momentum as the Capital Metro Agency has commenced a search for technical advisers to guide the project towards its procurement phase in 2015.
These technical advisers will be expected to have expertise in transport planning, engineering design, light rail operations, environmental assessment, urban design, maintenance and construction planning.
ACT Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development Simon Corbell said the Agency is seeking consultants with “significant experience” on similar light rail projects elsewhere in Australia “across this broad scope of work”.
They will have a wide variety of projects across Australia to choose from as new light rail plans have already been introduced in Perth and Adelaide.
The New South Wales government and the City of Sydney have also pressed on with plans to extend its light rail network in the CBD along George Street to take the pressure off the bus network.
The government expects that a response from Australia’s “top tier” engineering and planning consultancies, with the preferred respondent starting work on the project as early as February 2014.
It is the next step in the ACT government’s scheme to integrate a tramway network into the design of the nation’s capital that was planned by Walter Burley Griffin in 1912.
Since then, road congestion has become such a problem that resulted in the government conducting a survey to uncover how Canberra denizens felt about the integration of light rail into its public transport network.
The government released the results of this Light Rail Integration Study in November 2013, which encompassed more than 400 individual responses indicating that the public values three important aspects in public transport including frequency, reliability and speed.
The respondents also identified the light rail connection with the bus network as the most important issue of transport integration.
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