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THE beleaguered light rail went from bad to worse yesterday with a section of the construction site engulfed in smoke as a $1.1 billion lawsuit over the project was given the green light.
Firefighters had to be called to the corner of Park and George streets when hot slag from track welding set plywood alight. Pedestrians found themselves shrouded in smoke when a dry chemical extinguisher was used to douse the flames.
An Altrac spokeswoman said a hot work permit was in place for the works.
Workers on the light rail opposite Town Hall were engulfed in smoke. Picture: John Grainger
The light rail floods. Picture: John Grainger
Pedestrians were forced to walk through the smoke. Picture: John GraingerAnd at a time when the state government won’t release a secret flood report that is costing the project $60 million, water also inundated the area. The Daily Telegraph snapped the water pooling just 24 hours after Transport Minister Andrew Constance admitted he hadn’t read a flood report being compiled by his own department.
The Altrac spokeswoman blamed it on recent rain.
When the Telegraph attempted to show Mr Constance the photograph, his spokeswoman said he “isn’t here” to view it.
The spokeswoman said he will be briefed on the flood report after it’s signed off by the Department of Planning in coming weeks.
But the Telegraph understands the report is already being circulated among stakeholders.
This week it was revealed the City of Sydney had refused to hand over a $63 million payment for the light rail, which was due last December, after a series of spats with Transport For NSW. A major sticking point for council was a concern that Transport had not managed flood risk, with flood prone zones including parts of George St in the CBD and Centennial Park.
Meanwhile, a judge has allowed Spanish light rail contractor Acciona to take Transport for NSW to court over the troubled project.
It is suing the state government for $1.1 billion over what it says is “misleading and deceptive” conduct.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance admitted he hadn’t read the floor report from his own department as he was “too busy”. Picture: AAP Image/Simon BullardSupreme Court Judge James Stevenson made orders that Acciona will have to serve evidence about the case by September 7, with a listing for directions on September 14.
The company wants financial compensation from the government over claims it was “induced” by Transport for NSW to enter a contract to build the CBD light rail on a “false premise”. It has argued it was not given sufficient information about underground utilities.
A Transport for NSW spokeswoman said it had agreed to “allow Acciona to amend its claim”.
This article first appeared on www.dailytelegraph.com.au
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