The $2.4bn Parramatta Light Rail project has seen the first tracks been laid at Westmead, New South Wales, Australia, thereby achieving a major milestone for the project.
Tracks have been laid at Hawkesbury Road in Westmead.
The tracks laid comprises 18m lengths of grooved rail weighing almost one tonne each, which are set in a concrete slab, covering utility and drainage services.
Minister for Transport Andrew Constance said: “The Parramatta Light Rail is essential for future-proofing this growing precinct, one of the largest medical, education and research hubs in the southern hemisphere. We will see ‘turn up and go’ light rail services running through here in the next few years. That will mean a tram arriving every 7.5 minutes in peak periods.
“Along with Sydney Metro West and our train and bus services, it will help to cater for an estimated population of more than 40,000 staff and 30,000 students. Not only are we future proofing public transport for the area, but this project is also supporting 5,000 jobs as we rebuild the post-Covid economy here in NSW.”
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet revealed that more than $650m would be added in the 2020-21 NSW Budget for the purpose of completing this infrastructure project.
Perrottet added: “This Budget continues to build on our record infrastructure pipeline, which is delivering projects that will not only ease the burden on commuters but will spearhead our economic recovery from the pandemic by creating and supporting jobs.”
The track installation comes after months of preparation, including the relocation of underground utilities and the widening of Hawkesbury Road.
Member for Parramatta Geoff Lee said: “The community and local businesses will ultimately benefit from the convenient public transport option at their doorstep. We thank the community for its patience during the recent road closures and night works, both of which have helped to minimise disruption in this busy medical and residential precinct.”
Calling the Parramatta Light Rail as a game-changer for the entire region, Member for Seven Hills Mark Taylor said: “It’s really exciting to see the start of track work here in the Westmead Health Precinct because it means we’re a step closer to this modern and convenient mode of public transport.”
The project is considered vital to connect the critical health and education zone with the Parramatta CBD.
To seamlessly integrate with the nearby environment, Parramatta Light Rail will have multiple sections where it will be free from overhead wires.
Expected to begin services in 2023, the 12km Parramatta Light Rail will link Westmead to Carlingford via the Parramatta CBD and Camellia.