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By James Galvin
November 12, 2017
For the average Sydneysider, the proposition of driving into the city has become that of a nightmare thanks to the construction underway down the main drag. Delay after delay has plagued the project, with many drivers and pedestrians deciding to simply avoid the CBD all together, considering the maze of one-way streets and partitioned-off areas.
Construction on George Street began on February 16, 2016. It was originally scheduled to be completed by October of the same year. But due to a number of unexpected setbacks, such as underground services and utilities, the project is still a work in progress.
It does, however, appear to have an end in sight with some sections between King Street and Park Street reopening to the public before Christmas, with segments of work expected to be completed by the first weekend of December. Not only will Sydneysiders have the opportunity to stroll over what was earlier a taped-off ditch, but the council has kindly decided to become involved in the festivities and decorate the area with 5,000 giant wreaths and Christmas lights.
Marg Prendergast, Transport NSW’s Coordinator General, says: "This year, George Street will get a festive makeover inspired by London’s Oxford Street as we move out of sections of George Street where major civil construction for the light rail is complete, ahead of the busy Christmas retail period.
“From early December, barriers and fencing will be removed along the majority of George Street, between King and Park Streets and Christmas lights installed, with more space for pedestrians and Christmas celebrations along George Street.”
Fencing and tape will be going back up on January 2 with some finishing touches being made before the entire project is completed and ready for public access. “Finishing works, including small areas of paving, intersections, smart poles, and systems work will continue in the New Year as well as construction of the QVB stop," adds Prendergast.
James Anderson, a local resident within inner Sydney is excited to see the project come to an end: “My partner and I have been in Sydney for a few years now and have basically entirely avoided the inner city unless absolutely necessary, and we live only a short walk away. It’s good to hear the works are nearing an end and I’ll definitely be having a stroll through the space once the lights and wreaths are up over Christmas!”
Transport for NSW has also announced plans to have the light rail section on Devonshire Street, between Chalmers Street and Elizabeth Street completed by the end of 2017, with all fencing removed and full public access.
Work on the 12km CBD and South East Light Rail route will continue as planned. Travelling from Circular Quay along George Street to Central Station and on to Moore Park, then to Kingsford via Anzac Parade and Randwick via Alison Road and High Street; the project is expected to be completed and operating by 2019.
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