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THE return of the Tour Down Under to Port Adelaide could be derailed by any further delays to the Outer Harbor rail works project, Mayor Gary Johanson says.
The deadline for works on the rail line has already been pushed back from December 3 to January 15 — the day before the premier cycling race is scheduled to kick off in Port Adelaide.
The TDU is returning to the Port for the first time in 20 years. Port Adelaide Enfield Council has already spent $165,000 on hosting the major event, which is set to attract 8000 fans.
Mayor Gary Johanson said any further delays could reduce the number of people attending Peloton at the Port.
“The shortage of parking in the Port is glaring,” he said. “You can be assured that it would have a massive destabilising effect on the people that wish to view the whole event.” Mr Johanson was concerned people who lived in the city would be put off attending if the train was not running.
The Outer Harbor line was closed on October 1.
A Transport Department spokesman said “at this stage there is nothing to suggest that services will not resume” in time for the TDU.
However, services have already been delayed by more than a month to allow for works to build a $238 million rail underpass at Bowden.
The trains were originally expected to return at the end of next week but that date was forced back last week.
Residents have been relying on free substitute buses since the Outer Harbor line was closed on October 1.
Angry commuters have complained about the latest delay, saying buses double their travel time.
People for Public Transport spokeswoman Josephine Buckhorn said any works needed to be well advertised ahead of the TDU.
“An event like that (TDU) gets lots of people who do like public transport so the concern would be ... if it (the trains) don’t return in a timely manner then you do risk the event,” Ms Buckhorn said.
Port Adelaide Enfield chief executive Mark Withers said the council was in discussions with Adelaide Metro to ensure there were plenty of public transport options available to make it “as easy as possible to get to the start of the race in Port Adelaide”.
This article first appeared on www.adelaidenow.com.au
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