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The roads are not ready to handle the onslaught of traffic to Sydney's second biggest business hub at Macquarie Park when the train line is closed between Epping and Chatswood in September, the local Mayor says.
On the weekend Transport Minister Andrew Constance announced September 30 would be the date trains on the line stopped for seven months so the line can be upgraded to the Sydney Metro system.
This will mean the 20,000 train commuters who travel each way on the line will have to make their journeys by using a new high-frequency pink bus fleet called Station Link.
Customers will have access to a bus service at least every six minutes in the peak, with more than 1,000 services a day using the 120 new buses.
But Ryde Mayor Jerome Laxale said he was concerned, and that promised road upgrades to help handle the buses would not be delivered in time.
He said the closure was timed around the election, not the people's needs.
"The timing of this shutdown can only be put down to trying to get it re-opened before election day," he said.
"They value ribbon-cutting over the convenience of thousands of employees and thousands of residents here in the City of Ryde."
Mr Laxale said it will be a "very testing and chaotic seven months" as the Government had not delivered on all promises from April 2017, which included a bus lane along Herring Road, and an intersection upgrade (turning a roundabout into traffic lights) to help buses get through Macquarie Park.
"I find it extraordinary that the road upgrades promised wont be delivered in time," he said.
"The entire $60 million package, the majority of them will be delivered after the rail line reopens.
"I've had no valid explanation as to why they have been delayed … they've had seven years to upgrade these roads."
Mr Laxale said the roads were a "complete gridlock" now, and that he hated to imagine what 1,000 extra bus services would do.
"Not only that, but there will be thousands of more cars now … people will not have faith in the bus network as the bus lanes haven't been delivered," he said.
But Transport for NSW Coordinator General Marg Prendergast said stage one of the 'bus priority infrastructure program' would be finished in time.
This includes about 580 metres of new bus lanes, bus priority at intersections, adjustments to lanes, medians, traffic islands, traffic lights, footpaths, drainage, utilities and road pavements.
A southbound bus lane on Herring Road is part of this stage.
However stage two will not take place until the first half of 2019 when the Sydney Metro opens, and that part of the project includes the northbound bus lane on Herring Road.
The delay is due to the fact that investigations revealed the need for "significant and complex utility relocation" to create the additional lane, Ms Prendergast said.
In addition, a roundabout at Ivanhoe Place will no longer be converted to traffic lights as planned, due to resident concerns.
Optus to operate 160 buses to get staff to workMacquarie Business Park is home to a range of big global players, including Microsoft, Sony and Optus, who will all be significantly impacted by the rail line closure.
Optus alone employs 6,500 staff and had previously pushed for a November shutdown.
In preparation for the train halt, the company has planned a number of initiatives to help staff just get to work, a spokesperson said.
They will now operate 160 employee express buses between Wynyard station, Epping station and Macquarie Park.
The company will also assist employees to work from home or outside of peak commuting times, and upgrade its campus cycling facilities to encourage workers to ride to work.
Students and staff of Macquarie University will also be forced to pile onto buses.
Changes to timetabling of lectures and tutorials and the live streaming of course elements have been investigated to help ease pressure.
The university was previously hoping for an October shutdown of the line.
Mr Laxale said retailers of Macquarie Centre, the ninth largest shopping centre in Australia, were also incredibly concerned.
"The shutdown will be during their peak trading period," he said.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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