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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Construction of Mitchell light rail stop to halt service between EPIC and Gungahlin

Light rail between EPIC and Gungahlin will be halted for a month while a new $12 million stop is constructed at the intersection of Sandford Street and Flemington Road in Mitchell.

Buses will replace light rail from Gungahlin to Dickson for a two-week period in mid-January, then again for another two weeks in late February to early March.

The stop will be built over seven months and light rail will continue to operate from the city through to the EPIC stop ahead of the Mitchell depot throughout construction.

Minister for Transport and City Services, Chris Steel, said the replacement buses will run “more frequently than the light rail services”.

“We’re expecting this to be somewhat disruptive and we’d like to thank people in advance for bearing with us,” he said.

“We do expect some traffic disruptions and we’ll be clearly communicating if there are any road closures.

“We’re expecting particularly those periods where the light rail won’t be operating to be the most disruptive.”

The $12 million project is being 50/50 funded by Commonwealth and ACT Governments and will see “around 190 people expected to be inducted to the site over construction” including 25 full-time employees working on the project.

“Most of the work on the stop is not actually the physical construction work, but it’s setting up the electronic operations,” Mr Steel said.

Once complete, he said the stop would be used to access the Mitchell business precinct, and the future Gungahlin suburb of Kenny in the years to come.

“We haven’t built the suburb of Kenny yet, so this stop will serve that future population.

“We’ve been engaging with the Mitchell traders and businesses here who initially didn’t want to see a stop as part of light rail.

“Obviously since light rail has been operating there’s been a lot of support for it.

Despite Mr Steel saying Mitchell Traders didn’t want a light rail stop “initially”, the association told Canberra Weekly in September 2017, while light rail construction was underway, that they were upset the industrial precinct had been bypassed.

Mitchell Traders secretary at the time, Julian Kusa, said he had discussed the matter with over 250 business owners in Mitchell, many of whom weren’t contacted by Capital Metro Agency back in 2014 when stop locations were being decided.

“We’ve been engaging with the Mitchell traders and businesses here who initially didn’t want to see a stop as part of light rail.

Minister for Transport Chris Steel

Present day Mitchell Traders president Michael Warnock said they’re looking forward to the “long overdue” stop.

“It’s a short-term disruption, seven months; we’ve been disrupted for the initial build of the light rail but we can see the benefits long term.”

Mr Steel said the new stop would add 35 seconds to the 25-minute total trip time from Gungahlin to the city.

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