The removal of the Civic and Belconnen bus interchanges, a new interchange for Woden, a busway from Belconnen to Civic and a busway along Northbourne Avenue are included in plans for an upgrade of Canberra’s public transport infrastructure.
The greatest portion of money needed for these works has not received budgetary approval, but yesterday a $953,676 contract was let for a bus lane on Flemington Road, between Sandford Street and the Federal Highway, as part of the Gungahlin-to-Civic busway. This will include a cycle lane, and is due for completion in December.
Provision of a busway along Northbourne Avenue remains the subject of a study by the ACT Planning Authority. Options include building bus lanes on the median strip and variations on dedicating present lanes for buses. Planning Minister Simon Corbell said he hoped to be able to outline a proposal in about six months for this multi-million-dollar project.
Meanwhile, the Government has begun a preliminary environment assessment on a $12million refurbishment of the eastern edge of Woden town centre. It includes the demolition of the police station and bus interchange, new retail space, an open forecourt, new bus interchange and waiting lounge. The entire project is expected to be completed within five years. It will require a temporary bus station and successful negotiations with the private sector.
Mr Corbell said the $12million project would include a significant offset from the sale of land and developments by the private sector. The temporary bus station would operate for about three years, while the major construction was completed.
Projects, including the temporary bus station, rebuilding the Bowes-Launceston Street intersection and construction of a permanent bus station with integrated retail space, would require private-sector involvement.
Comments and submissions will close on October 17. The preliminary assessment is available at public libraries, the ACT Planning Authority, and on its web site,www.actpla.act.gov.au
Mr Corbell said the Civic bus interchange would be replaced with a series of stops in London Circuit and adjacent to the Canberra Centre. Dispersing the interchange would allow for the revitalisation of East Row and Alinga Street, on which the interchange is now based. Options for that area included predominantly a pedestrian area with limited vehicle access to buildings. No time had been set for this work, but he expected it would come on line at about the same time as the completion of the Belconnen-to-Civic busway.
Funds for the design of that busway had been approved. He expected that by the end of this financial year the Government would be able to make a decision on whether to provide the $80million to $100million for the construction, which would take about18 months.
Tenders for a $7million real-time information system for ACTION buses were being evaluated. The system would show passengers at about 300 bus stops when the next bus would arrive and would give buses priority at selected traffic lights. He expected it to be in use by about June.