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Revitalisation of Newcastle CBD continues as Wickham interchange gets the green light
Minister for Transport and Minister for the Hunter Gladys Berejiklian today announced the Hunter’s new transport interchange at Wickham has received planning approval – paving the way for the revitalisation of the Newcastle CBD.
Ms Berejiklian said work will begin to create a state-of-the-art transport interchange at Wickham immediately following truncation of the rail line on 26 December 2014.
“The interchange – which will integrate trains, buses, taxis, light rail, cyclists and car drop-off and pick-ups – is a key part of the NSW Government’s plans to revitalise Newcastle, alongside light rail from Wickham to the beach,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Hunter residents, workers and businesses were encouraged to have their say on the Wickham transport interchange project during public exhibition of a Review of Environmental Factors in August this year.
“I’m pleased that we’ve had so much valuable feedback from the community, with about 200 submissions received,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to provide input into the project.
“One of the key pieces of feedback we heard was around the look of the interchange. I want to assure the community that when a contractor is selected to design and build the interchange, their first job will be to review the design and ensure the community’s feedback is considered. The contractor is due to be appointed by the end of the year.”
The NSW Government is also continuing to work with the community to identify opportunities to improve traffic flow and minimise impacts during construction and operation of the new interchange and train stabling facilities.
Ms Berejiklian said those in the area may notice a lot more activity in the rail corridor between Hamilton and Newcastle over the coming weeks.
“Work is underway to prepare for the truncation of the rail line on Boxing Day – opening up the CBD to the foreshore and putting an end to the queues local motorists endure at level crossings which are currently cutting the city centre in half,” she said.
“Geotechnical studies along the preferred route in Hunter and Scott streets are underway to help prepare for the separate planning approval process for light rail.
“The NSW Government continues to deliver on its promises to the people of Newcastle and will ensure the best transport solution is in place to underpin the urban renewal Newcastle has been crying out for.”
Planning is well-advanced for interim transport bus services connecting Hamilton, Wickham and the beach while the interchange and light rail are being built.
“Last month, we released more information on the interim bus services that will operate once the heavy rail line is truncated,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Customers will be able catch a bus every 10 minutes in the peak from sheltered bus stops at Hamilton, Wickham, Civic and Newcastle stations and Queens Wharf, connecting with every train service at Hamilton Station.
“It is expected every customer will get a seat on a fleet of modern, fully-accessible, air-conditioned buses and that they can carry surfboards and other luggage on-board.”