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Extension of Parramatta Light Rail to Olympic Park Set to Incur a $3.9 Billion Expense

The long-awaited extension of Parramatta light rail line is now projected to cost $3.9 billion, surpassing its initial budget by hundreds of millions of dollars. This cost escalation parallels the significant budget overrun experienced by Sydney’s CBD and south-east line, nearly doubling its original estimate.

The significant funding gap for the second stage has led to appeals for the Minns government to allocate additional funds in the upcoming state budget, ensuring the project’s completion.

Transport for NSW’s cost estimate for the proposed 10-kilometer extension of the Parramatta light rail line from Camellia to Sydney Olympic Park adds to the already fully funded $2.875 billion for the first stage, which experienced a $475 million budget increase last year.

The cost projection for the entire line, encompassing a 22-kilometer span if the second stage proceeds as planned, reaches $6.8 billion. This amount is equivalent to the expense of two CBD and southeast light rail projects.

In the previous year’s budget, approximately $600 million was allocated for preparatory works for the second stage, primarily directed towards constructing a 320-meter bridge spanning the Parramatta River from Melrose Park to Wentworth Point.

While the Minns government has committed an additional $200 million to expedite the project, it falls short of the anticipated $705 million required over the next three years to initiate the construction of the actual light rail line by 2026.

Completion date for the Extension of Parramatta Light Rail

According to the current project timeline, Transport for NSW anticipates that the second stage won’t be available for passengers until 2031, which is approximately five years behind the original schedule. The extension project is expected to entail the acquisition of around 15 homes, and it will feature 14 stops, concluding at the Carter Street high-rise development adjacent to Olympic Park.

Transport for NSW has conveyed that forthcoming funding commitments for the second stage will be contingent on the budgetary procedures.

David Borger, the executive director of Business Western Sydney, emphasized that this upcoming Tuesday’s budget presents an opportunity for the government to fulfill its promise.

He expressed concerns that each year of waiting for construction to commence introduces further delays and jeopardizes the project’s future. He stressed the importance of having a clear plan in the NSW budget to initiate a contract for laying light rail tracks, highlighting that while the bridge between Melrose Park and Wentworth Point is significant as an enabling project, it does not represent Parramatta light rail stage two in the eyes of the residents.

The first phase of the light rail ”Ine, connecting Westmead and Carlingford through the Parramatta CBD, is scheduled to be operational by May 2024.

It’s worth noting that Sydney’s CBD and southeast light rail line, which opened three years ago, incurred a cost of $3.1 billion, nearly double the initial estimate of $1.6 billion. This significant budget overrun was the result of prolonged construction delays and legal disputes during the project’s development.

Also read Metro West Rail Line Delay Threatens Sydney’s Housing Strategy








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