NSW Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian has announced that geotechnical work is now underway for the $1.6 billion, 12 kilometre Sydney CBD and South East Light Rail project.

The different phases of work will take place over the coming of weeks, and include surveying, whereby crews will work along the length of the alignment to identify existing buried utilities such as water and electricity, and geophysical testing via the use of utility vehicle towing sensors.

Field work will also be carried out, with crews to conduct geotechnical field work along certain sections of the alignment to test soil and rock structures.

Berejiklian said delivering the project in a busy urban environment would be challenging, although the testing is not expected to be noisy or disruptive.

“We are getting on with the job of delivering the CBD and South East Light Rail and this work is an important step as the project ramps up,” she said.

“The design and planning work is detailed in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) released earlier this month, which provides an overview of potential project impacts and how they will be managed.”

The geotechnical work will assist with the proposed design and construction of the project, helping to refine the plans as the government moves towards the delivery phase.

Image: http://www.railjournal.com/

Upon completion, the Light Rail will extend through the CBD and on to south-east sporting, education and health precincts.

Linking Circular Quay to Central, the Sydney Cricket Ground, Randwick racecourse, Prince of Wales Hospital, and the University of NSW, the network is expected to generate 10,000 jobs and add $4 billion to the NSW economy.

According to Berejiklian, the link also means that 220 buses every hour can be removed from Sydney's CBD and directed to other suburbs.

The public is invited to provide input on the number and location of light rail stops. The EIS is on public exhibit until 16 December, and all submissions to the Department of Infrastructure and Planning must be made by this date.

Major construction of the project is expected to start after centenary ANZAC celebrations in April 2015.

To download the EIS, please visit http://www.majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/.