A year of big milestones: our progress in 2017

21 December 2017

A message from Transport for NSW Coordinator General Marg Prendergast

What a difference a year makes! 2017 has been a year of big milestones with light rail construction forging ahead across the alignment.

We’ve had crews start or finish up major construction in all 31 zones this year, and with barriers now coming down in some of the first zones, we are getting an exciting glimpse of what we can expect when construction wraps up.

This year has not been without challenges, but looking back on some of the fantastic progress we’ve made in 2017 highlights our achievements in building this complex and historic piece of infrastructure.

We started 2017 the way we planned to go on – making progress and maximising construction opportunities.

We installed the first wire-free section of CBD track in George Street between Alfred and Bridge/Grosvenor Streets in March. The wire free section will be powered by a third rail which sits between the tracks through the city centre, from Circular Quay and through the pedestrianised zone from Hunter to Bathurst Street.

Anzac Parade straightened up in April when it was restored to its original alignment outside Moore Park following eight months of traffic diversion for light rail construction. This allowed excavation under the diversion to start so this part of the tunnel could be connected to the cut and cover section under the Moore Park playing fields.

Surry Hills’ first tracks were installed in April, at the intersection of Elizabeth and Devonshire Streets.

Light rail construction came to Circular Quay in May, with work on the new terminus connecting light rail with trains, buses and ferries kicked off this major facelift for Sydney’s harbour entrance.

Mid-year we saw the Kingsford Nine Ways Roundabout replaced with traffic signals to prepare for an upgrade that will make way for the Kingsford Light Rail interchange.

In an exciting milestone for the project, the first Citadis X05 light rail vehicle arrived in Sydney and was officially unveiled in late July, giving customers an early glimpse inside.

Moore Park reached a turning point in August with the breakthrough site marking the start of construction for this key connection between Surry Hills and the Moore Park sporting and entertainment precinct.

In September we had the privilege of supporting the Surry Hills Festival, with this year’s event also marking the launch of Double Take, an incredible arts program featuring projections and pop ups at 38 locations through the heart of Surry Hills.

Track installation wrapped up in the Randwick Stabling Yard during November where nearly 4km of track is in place, overhead wires are up and the new vehicles are ready and waiting.

We passed the halfway mark for track installation during the year and as of December more than 13 km of the total 24 km of track is now in the ground.

December has been a particular highlight with the opening of the pedestrian space on George Street, between King and Park Streets.

Construction crews rolled out and barriers were removed, unveiling a stunning pedestrian boulevard which we decked out with six huge wreaths and more than 5000 lights for the festive season.

We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive feedback and have thoroughly enjoyed checking out all the incredible photos on social media.

Also in December, major civil light rail construction in Surry Hills on Devonshire Street, between Chalmers and Elizabeth Streets has been substantially completed and the area opened up to pedestrians.

We’ve provided seating, planter boxes, greenery and a canvas for artwork in this section, as well as a light installation in Ward Park.

2017 has been a year of progress and we are excited to build on this throughout 2018 – it’s going to be another big year.

Our crews won’t pause for long over summer, with construction ramping up across the CBD and the South East to take advantage of the quiet holiday period.

We have some exciting milestones on the horizon for 2018, including more zones opening up, and light rail vehicle testing and commissioning.

I’d again like to thank everyone who has been impacted by the changes in the CBD and South East for working with us this year. In the past 12 months we have seen a great deal of change and glimpses of the benefits light rail will bring.

Our teams will continue to work carefully with drivers, public transport customers, residents, businesses and the wider community to minimise disruption while we deliver this transformative project.