Community action group PUSH (People Unite Surry Hills) is throwing its full force behind an alternative plan for the proposed State Government construction of the South East light rail route along Devonshire St.
Under the ‘Get it Right’ plan, PUSH advocates for the light rail route shifting to Foveaux St, involving the construction of a ‘subsurface’ light rail system and building an underground Surry Hills station.
“A subsurface is not tunneling – tunneling costs about $300 million per kilometer,” said PUSH convener, Venietta Slama-Powell. “Based on our professional engineer’s costs, it will be slightly cheaper than the [government proposed] Devonshire St route.
“What it basically means is you pour in the concrete to make the sides and the bottom to create the subsurface, so [the light rail] actually sits just below the road.”
PUSH are campaigning that the current route along Devonshire St poses safety and traffic concerns.
“We’ve always had concerns as locals in the community about the proposed Devonshire St route,” said Ms Slama-Powell.
PUSH supports the findings of a review conducted by independent local engineer, Robin Bean, who has since met with and submitted his alternative plan to NSW Minister for Transport, Gladys Berejiklian.
“These things only took place last week and they [the government] have reassured [Mr Bean] that they are genuinely reviewing the proposal,” said Ms Slama-Powell.
State Member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich said he will help ensure the proposal is appropriately assessed.
“PUSH representatives briefed me about their proposal and I will ask the Minister for Transport and other key stakeholders to ensure it is assessed as an option before the Environment Impact Statement is released for community comment later this year,” he said.
Ms Berejiklian said community input would be sought on design elements of the plan.
“As I have made clear since December, while the route for light rail has been determined, there are a number of design elements still to be finalised on which we are seeking community input, such as the location of stops and how the route will cross from Surry Hills through to Moore Park,” she said.
“We are consulting with the community on both the cut and cover tunnel and viaduct option for Moore Park and I encourage anyone with a view to provide feedback.”
PUSH advocate that the ‘Get It Right’ plan will save money and minimise impact on residential properties and businesses.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore was contacted but refused to comment.
– By Adra Anthoney & Peter Hackney