Connecting Adelaide Airport to city – a $500 million light rail
There is a renewed push to win support for a proposed $500 million light rail or tram line connecting Adelaide Airport to the CBD.
The project has been described as a “must do” and “do now” project by the influential industry lobby group, the Civil Contractors Federation – South Australia.
It has called for an immediate high level reassessment of the proposal first mooted in December last year with a follow-up call for Expressions of Interest.
The CCF cites immediate but much-needed economic, tourism and construction benefits from such a project, which it says would elevate SA out of its small-town mindset.
The lobby group says it particularly backs the line’s mooted “no poles or wires” infrastructure.
This would see the introduction to Adelaide in a landmark Australian transport breakthrough, of battery powered trams already in use in such leading modern cities like Dubai.
The proposed line was raised last year as a private sector undertaking by the renowned Downer engineering and construction group, which is already working on Adelaide’s current tram network expansion.
“It is time for government to revisit the proposal for a light rail-tram between Adelaide Airport and the Adelaide CBD,” CCF (SA)’s chief executive officer Phil Sutherland says.
“The closeness of our airport to the city – six kilometres – is unique in Australia and as a flat ground level footprint, makes a battery powered light rail facility logical and value-adding,” Sutherland adds.
“It is a no brainer that presents business people, tourists and local residents with an easily accessible, world-class, environmentally friendly, short commute to the State’s premier political, business, retail, tourist, accommodation and dining precinct – and its intra-light rail connectivity around our famed CBD square mile.”
Sutherland says whether the Downer Group still wanted involvement or not in such a project, the Government needed to “fire up” private sector interest.
“This should particularly be among Australia’s major super funds which understand the value of backing long-term (30 years), commercially viable infrastructure operations and investments in projects such as light rail, toll-based highways and airport ownership.
“This is an iconic project, uses tried and proven conventional light rail construction techniques, but allows Adelaide to be seen as progressive and innovative in its transport offerings and solutions,” Sutherland says.
“It also brings Adelaide into line with Australia’s much larger domestic airports which offer ‘front-door’ rail access to their respective inner city confines.”
Sutherland says the CCF had been encouraged by the new Liberal Government taking a fresh approach to public transport and looking at unique and innovative ideas.
“Any private sector proposal then for the construction, funding and operating of such a logical piece of transport infrastructure, should be prioritised for consideration.
“With the completion of the new hotel at the airport and plans for the major expansion of the airport precinct, the time is now right for a modern battery powered tram link to the city.
“These battery powered trams are available now, and recharge while at stations and through excess energy on their grid – negating any need for the poles and wires of our existing tram network.
“We understand there is provision in the airport expansion plan for a tram station outside the new airport hotel and that Adelaide Airport’s management is supportive of this proposal.
“A route can be established with a spur line out of the airport and along Sir Donald Bradman Drive with about three stops to then connect with the existing tram line in Victoria Square.”
Sutherland says that from a public transport perspective, the Downer proposal has ‘a great deal of merit’.
“People arriving into Adelaide Airport could have the option of a modern, quiet, pollution-free and relatively fast tram to get them to the CBD – a good ‘first impression’ of Adelaide and SA.”
“The CCF calls on the new government to back this plan and show the SA public it is a government of vision and capable of making bold decisions.”
Images courtesy of Field PR.