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RAIL lines will remain intact at Macquarie Point despite northern suburbs light rail supporters fearing work on a bike track at the site could damage the infrastructure.
The Rail Action Group said works on the cycleway extension adjacent to the city’s main train line threw doubt on the State Government’s pledge to protect the rail corridor.
But the State Government and the Macquarie Point Development Corporation said they stood by their commitment to preserve the tracks for future transport use.
Garney Pearce and Ben Johnston from the Hobart Northern Suburbs rail action group. Picture: RICHARD JUPE“The interim cycleway traverses a small section of the top area of the corridor while the entire bottom section remains preserved,” corporation chief executive Mary Massina said.
“There has been no further removal of rail lines and works on the cycleway do not impact reservation of the transit corridor.”
The corporation said the works hadn’t imposed any restriction on the corridor and their commitment to preserve the track was an integral part of the legislation before parliament.
“Under the Mac Point legislation, the masterplan brings forward light rail to the first stage of development, rather than in stage three as proposed under the Mona vision,” Ms Massina said.
Macquarie Point CEO Mary Massina. Picture: ROB BLAKERS“Furthermore, light rail is part of the current Hobart City Deal discussions.”
The State Government, through Infrastructure Tasmania, is currently investigating options for a modern transport solution such as light rail or trackless trams.
Action Group president Ben Johnston said the public had been kept in the dark and wasn’t consulted on rail corridor plans.
“We need rail as a key solution to Hobart’s growing pains and it will be a waste of taxpayers’ money to relocate a cycleway only months after it was constructed,” he said.
“Construction activity is occurring in the same area where rails were ripped up by the Macquarie Point Development Corporation last year, in what the former TasRail chairman Bob Annells described as a ‘stuff-up’.”
Several hundred metres of TasRail-owned rail tracks near the Hobart Regatta Grounds were removed last year due to what was described as a “breakdown in communications” between a contractor and the Development Corporation.
Ms Massina is scheduled to meet Mr Johnston today to discuss the Action Group’s concerns.
This article first appeared on www.themercury.com.au
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