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New pedestrian and retail tunnels would run below Sydney’s central business district from Wynyard to Martin Place Station as part of emerging plans for a new rail station in the heart of the city.
The Herald has confirmed the proposed Metro West rail line, to run from Westmead through Parramatta to the CBD, is to include a stop at Martin Place. The underground station would also be linked to Wynyard, creating new walkways and retail opportunities under the city.
Under the plans, pedestrians would be able to travel on a covered walkway from the east of the CBD at Barangaroo to Wynyard using the 180-metre Wynyard Walk, and from Wynyard to the city’s historic financial core at Martin Place.
It is understood the main CBD interchange for the Metro West rail line would be at Martin Place. At Martin Place, travellers could change for the T4 Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra Line, as well as the City and Southwest Metro from Chatswood to Sydenham, which is currently under construction.
But an unpaid concourse would extend to Wynyard. This would give travellers on the Metro West the change to interchange for the City Circle line, as well as the T1 Western and North Shore lines.
The number and location of stations on the Metro West project has not been finalised. The government has committed to stations at Westmead, Parramatta, Olympic Park, the Bays Precinct around Rozelle, and at an unspecified location in the CBD. But it is also considering interim locations, including potential stops at Pyrmont and Kings Bay.
In the longer term, the government has also said it would “safeguard the ability” to extend the Metro West project to the west to an airport at Badgerys Creek, and through to the eastern suburbs, via Zetland.
Geotechnical drilling has already started in Zetland. The prospect of the sale of the Long Bay prison complex has also generated speculation the line could be extended to Malabar.
Martin Place railway station was cordoned off for much of the weekend after a gas leak caused by an excavator.
Photo: AAPThe stop locations, as well as the timing and funding of the Metro West project, are a matter of political debate. The Transport Minister, Andrew Constance, has said he would like to see a sub 20-minute journey from Parramatta to the CBD. Labor’s transport spokeswoman, Jodi McKay, has said she is not wedded to the 20-minute travel time, and would like to see a Sydney University stop considered.
The state government ear-marked $3 billion in last month’s budget for the project, but has said it would not be finished until late next decade. There is, however, a large project team already at work on the scheme, and there is a good chance the state or federal government could promise to accelerate work on the line ahead of coming elections.
The federal Labor opposition has committed $3 billion to the project, one of the main justifications for which is the need to relieve pressure on the existing T1 Western Line.
Fitting another rail tunnel under the city is a difficult exercise; the new line would need to traverse building basements, as well as the underground Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra Line, and the tunnels being built for the City and Southwest metro project.
The risk and complexity of construction in the CBD was highlighted over the weekend when an excavator on the City and Southwest project hit a gas main in Martin Place, forcing a prolonged evacuation of the area.
This article first appeared on www.smh.com.au
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