Bus and Tram Express
Bus and Tram Express

Sydney braced for fresh road hell

Mar 9, 2017Uncategorized

By Miranda Devine, Published in the The Daily Telegraph

Sydneysiders are a patient breed. But George St continues to look like the main street of Mogadishu as the light rail we are not sure we even want slowly comes together at a cost of $200,000 per metre.

And we’re now facing another year in which the heart of our city is one big construction zone, with roadworks at the busiest intersections and detour signs and orange barriers blocking any decent route.

Don’t expect sympathy from NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance.

He says it’s only going to get worse. “We aren’t sugar-coating this,” Mr Constance said in January.

“This is going to test people’s ­patience …. I want people to understand that the next 12 months is going to be even more disruptive.”

It’s one thing to put up with the pain of renovations.

But most people need to know that it will be worth it in the end. ­Despite the nearly $12 million taxpayer funded public relations ­exercise “Tomorrow’s Sydney” which is supposed to allay concerns about the shemozzle in the CBD, you can’t help the nagging ­suspicion that the light rail will be a dog.

After all it was the brainchild of Lord Mayor Clover Moore whose most memorable contribution to traffic congestion in the city is a bunch of godforsaken bike lanes, which are no good to commuter ­cyclists and make driving more ­difficult.

Already a damning report by the NSW Auditor-General last year ­predicted a half billion dollar blowout in construction costs to $2.1 billion and a further $1 billion blowout in operating costs over the next ­­­15 years for the 12km light-rail line from Circular Quay to Kensington and Randwick.

Who knows what other cost blowouts will emerge in the next two years?

For businesses on George St the near five-year loss of trade and disruption is a disaster.

Almost 70 years ago, Sydney got rid of trams to ease traffic congestion on roads that were too narrow.

Let’s hope if Clover’s light rail does get ripped up again one day, none of us are around to remember the folly.