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PTnut
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Double-decker bridge to break the gridlock
By Darren Goodsir, Urban Affairs Editor
April 30, 2005


Photo: Jon Reid

A four-lane motorway is likely to be "strapped on" to the undercarriage of the Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of an ambitious plan to ease the city's chronic road and train congestion.

It is understood a private consortium, led by Westpac and the construction giant Leightons, has been working closely on the project for nearly a year with State Government officials.

While a sub-deck of roadway would be added for motorists, one car lane would be removed from the top deck to make way for a new rail crossing.

Sources say key members of state cabinet have been given an overview of the emerging plan, called Project Star.

The Government's transport sustainability commissioner, Peter Newman, is refining various options, which are being examined enthusiastically by government ministers and public servants, the Herald has learned.

At least one new city railway station would be built, most likely near Wharf 8 on Hickson Road at East Darling Harbour, to take passengers away from Wynyard and Town Hall, which have dangerously overcrowded platforms in peak hour. A cheaper rail option, again involving at least one station, would run beneath Castlereagh Street.

Single-deck trains might be pioneered to integrate a more flexible and less costly system with the existing network, which is undergoing $1 billion in upgrades to untangle dozens of intersecting lines into five rail clearways.

An extra harbour tunnel is also being considered, but the cost is at least $2 billion more expensive than the "strap on" road option.

The Roads and Traffic Authority has backed an extra four-lane road for the bridge or a new tunnel as a minimum requirement for giving up crucial space on the bridge's existing road surface. Such a concession would allow for a second bus lane, northbound.

Senior ministers, including the Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, Craig Knowles, and the Minister for Roads, Michael Costa, have been extensively briefed on the plan, giving authority to the new transport co-ordination supremo, Mark Duffy, to develop it as part of the city's Metropolitan Strategy. Mr Newman has joined Government officials on a new transport review committee.

The plans build on a $30 billion, 40-year rail expansion blueprint submitted to cabinet in 2001 by the former trains boss, Ron Christie, as a way to prevent the network's strangulation. The Christie report promoted the urgency of another harbour crossing to avoid imminent rail gridlock.

The then Transport Minister, Carl Scully, rejected Mr Christie's 10-year timetable, saying it would not need to be completed until 2020 at the earliest.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/National...ak-the-gridlock/2005/04/29/1114635748181.html

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Harbour crossing may help save rail
By Darren Goodsir, Urban Affairs Editor
April 30, 2005

The backers of a second railway on the Harbour Bridge believe passengers would flock to a new service, which would bring much-needed capacity to the city's overstretched lines.

The scheme is under serious Government consideration, though details of its possible route are scarce. It is likely that a new station would be built near East Darling Harbour, alongside a site identified by the Government for a one-kilometre long park next to office buildings on the old Patrick stevedoring site.

It is understood the consortium that has been working on the project, led by Westpac and Leightons, has undertaken detailed analysis on possible rail corridors and some buildings might have to be acquired or demolished.

One option, supported by consultants working on the Government's task force for the revitalisation of Parramatta Road, would take the line south from the Harbour Bridge through Glebe to link up with the rest of the network at Newtown station.

The long-term strategic plan for rail, prepared in 2001 for state cabinet by the former co-ordinator general of Rail, Ron Christie, argued for a Metro-style service with single-deck carriages through a second North Sydney station to Crows Nest, Naremburn, Willoughby and Chatswood. It might later be extended to Dee Why.

In 2001 Mr Christie said "operational paralysis" would afflict the network unless the Government adopted his plans, which called for five new lines, 80 new stations and expenditure of $22 billion on carriages and maintenance over 10 years.

"I am convinced that, without this level of minimum urgent and essential expenditure, the system will not cope, services will remain unreliable, on-time running will remain unacceptable and the effects on safety cannot be ruled out," Mr Christie warned.

The second harbour crossing idea has emerged in the wake of the Government's decision to suspend planning for the M4 East extension. The Roads Minister, Michael Costa, pushed for the road to be shelved pending a reassessment of transport needs to take account of traffic growth caused by the expansion of the Port Botany container terminal.

A truck-only tunnel from Port Botany to the M4 is one option being pursued by an integrated transport committee as part of the Government's metropolitan strategy for the next 25 years.

But a new rail link, expanding choked city centre lines, is one of the committee's most pressing priorities.

Since the Christie report was delivered, the network has become an embarrassment.

A driver shortage last year led to scores of services being cancelled at short notice; a new timetable was scrapped weeks before it was due to begin; and on some days not a single train was on time.

The Government is spending $1 billion on untangling intersecting lines and has promised to make all carriages air-conditioned by 2010.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/National...-help-save-rail/2005/04/29/1114635748189.html

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I gave it a seperate thread since it's kind of a both road and rail issue.

Comments? Hornetfigs (I'm onto you :p) has already pointed out that the road approaches may be a problem given lack of land at either end of the bridge.

But with scant details, the possibilites are endless.
 

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selling my body since 88'
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Im very happy at least they have an extra subway stops planned! The rest looks promising too. 30 bil is a huge number but i guess its spread over 30 years..
It is def a step in the right direction. Hopefully it wont ruin the aesthetics of the bridge and i doubt it will. I am encouraged by the recent transport activites, hopefully they will be done (but i have no faith left in the Carr gov). At least there is discussion. I think that if such emphasis is placed on these proposals with the contemporary projects (oribtal, X tunnel, upgrade to Gore hill lanecove section,Patrick stevedoring site), the recent probs with public transport can be fixed.
 

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Champagne Socialist
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Eastern / South Eastern burbs -> Oxford Street - > Museum -> Pitt St Mall -> Wynyard -> old Tram tunnels / track over Bridge (Cahill) -> Mosman -> Manly (west?) -> Northern Beaches.

a line like that could easily support 5-8 minute frequencies, killing two birds (big non-rail gaps) with one stone!
 

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tayser said:
Eastern / South Eastern burbs -> Oxford Street - > Museum -> Pitt St Mall -> Wynyard -> old Tram tunnels / track over Bridge (Cahill) -> Mosman -> Manly (west?) -> Northern Beaches.
Yeah, I've often thought this would be the perfect route for Sydney's first metro-type line (and not just because my trip to work would be reduced to 15 minutes!).

Surely the only way you'd ever get an inner west -> north shore line with a stop at the wharves would be via a tunnel - it's a big climb from Hickson Road up to the bridge.
 

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PTnut
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It looks like they could be implementing parts of the Ron Christie Plan:
 

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me!
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uewepuep said:
Wow, thats an ...interesting idea!
It's a bloody brilliant idea! The bridge is capable of supporting far more weight than it is currently so you may as well exploit that!
 

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They've been mulling over this for the past 10 years. No doubt we'll have an announcement before the next election.
 

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Extremely good idea. That be extremely helpful with capacity across on the North Shore Line, particularly when the new Chatswood to Epping link opens. How steep would the gradient be from the Harbour Bridge down to under Hickson Road though? It might be possible to create tunnels under the current approach spans to the SHB and bring it above ground as it reaches the underside of the current deck. Similar to the rail link that crosses the lower deck on the Tsing Ma Bridge in Hong Kong.
 

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WOW that Ron Christie plan is a bloody marvellous system upon first inspection!
 

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PTnut
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My thought was that we could reroute existing North Shore trains into a new City East line via Martin Place and via the eastern Side of the Bridge, then this line could curve back to Central, before heading out to UNSW or Randwick and Maroubra..

Then we'll have future Main North trains from the Macquarie Line travelling on the current North Shore alignment into Wynyard, Town Hall, Central then out to Epping via Strathfield. Leftovers could either pumped into the Western Line and its branches, or have them sit in the McDonaldtown Turnback.
 

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sirhc8 said:
They've been mulling over this for the past 10 years. No doubt we'll have an announcement before the next election.
LOL. The fact they've been silent on this until now is a good sign that they may be serious about this. The fact that there's a private consortium involved is also encouraging.

This IS needed, though I'd personally build four new rail tracks over the bridge. Why? simple. Because of what it allows you to do.

 

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Captain Awesome
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I don't think anyone has the political will the build the Northern Beaches line.
 

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Maybe another idea would be put two new train lines and move the two existing train lines beneath the bridge. Then it might not look so out of place with three tracks on top and 4 lanes below.

But if they were to continue with the 4 lanes below plan, they should make those four lanes acess lanes to the Cahill Expressway, and have all the other lanes going onto the Western Distributor
 

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You can't do that because the existing tunnel portals at the southern end of the bridge are aligned with the top deck.
 

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^but surely through a lot of cost you could change that.

Build the 4 tracks below and new tunnel portals into the city loop. Then close the top lines and tunnel portals
 

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Toadman said:
Maybe another idea would be put two new train lines and move the two existing train lines beneath the bridge. Then it might not look so out of place with three tracks on top and 4 lanes below.

But if they were to continue with the 4 lanes below plan, they should make those four lanes acess lanes to the Cahill Expressway, and have all the other lanes going onto the Western Distributor
I'd say the 4 lanes below will go to the C-Exp.

Toadman: the city circle is already heavily congested.
 

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I'd love if they began to incorporate more metro style transport into the system, as per the Ron Christie plan.

Can anyone explain to me what this plan actually is??
 

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I'm sure you could change it but I don't see any need to. These portals don't go into the city loop, they go straight through the city. But in saying that, I support the idea of putting four tracks on the bottom deck and maintaining the North Shore line tracks on the top.
 

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Why go to the effort of building a rail line when their priority is clearly to add more lanes to get more cars across the bridge? If they were serious about this, they'd simply close lanes 7 and 8, build two or three new bus-rail interchanges (an effective one at North Sydney maybe, and definately new ones above or beneath Milsons Point stations and up around Military Road) to get people into Wynyard and beyond from the other side of the bridge, and just build the damned line. Make lane 6 a bus lane for the time being and massively improve the bus services & increase the toll to try and compensate for the two lost lanes.
 
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