Thousands of commuters will face longer journey times beginning late 2018 when the Epping to Chatswood rail is shut down for seven months.
The 13km stretch of rail is being closed as the line is converted to accommodate the new single deck metro trains that will service North West Sydney. The Sydney Metro NorthWest will connect Rouse Hill with Chatswood.
120 new bus services will be introduced to connect stations impacted by the closures, with buses expected to run as frequently as every six minutes during peak periods.
The NSW government anticipates that the shutdown of the rail line will add 10 minutes to commuter journey times. More accurate delay times will not be available until the new bus timetables are finalised.
Ahead of the Sydney Metro Northwest completion in 2019, the long-term closure of the heavy rail line will present a significant challenge for those working, living or studying in the Macquarie Park area.
Local residents have expressed their dismay at the planned closure, with one resident of North Ryde commenting that the delay has been hugely underestimated.
“A ten-minute delay is optimistic. Driving on Epping Road in peak hour will become ten times worse than it is already. The six kilometre drive from my house to Epping station already takes me at least half an hour, and with all these extra buses on the road, not mention the people who will choose to drive in the area, it will become complete chaos.”
In response to the expected additional congestion, the NSW government intends to spend $60 million to alleviate chronic congestion in the Macquarie Park area. The road upgrade will include an extra three kilometres of bus lanes around the precinct that will assist in easing pressure caused by the increased number of buses on the road.
Macquarie Park is the second largest business precinct in Sydney after the CBD and the train line is crucial to helping transport approximately 40,000 people to and from the area from Monday to Friday.
Ryde Mayor Bill Pickering, describes the area’s roads as a car park in peak periods.
The likes of Optus, Panasonic and Canon all call the area home, with concern that corporations may choose to move their operations elsewhere in response to the impact of the anticipated increase in traffic and congestion.
"If we continue the way we are going we are going to see valuable business entities move elsewhere because their employees are having difficulties [travelling to work]," said Mayor Pickering.