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Government finalising preferred Newcastle light rail corridor option

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Light rail connecting the CBD to the Broadmeadow sports and entertainment precinct might be closer to fruition than originally thought.

Earlier this year, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes admitted a tram service to take in several locales, including McDonald Jones Stadium, would help locals and visitors alike, especially with the venue hosting high-profile concerts such as Sir Elton John and Pink, as well as major spectacles like the FOX Australian Supercross Championship.

Almost 50,000 people converged on the Hunter’s premier arena in January for the music legend’s farewell show, however the issues of traffic congestion and parking options were highlighted afterwards on social media.

“McDonald Jones Stadium is obviously a regular site for sporting fixtures that attract big-sized crowds,” Cr Nelmes said in February.

“However, concerts can be slightly different.

“Patrons often come from out of the area or want to do other social activities before, or after, the event.

“That’s part of the advocacy work we do with the NSW Government, so having that light rail link extended out to this precinct is a priority.

“It would be ideal to get that connection – between the CBD and there – permanently.”

Now, the NSW Government is requesting a preferred transport corridor for Newcastle, including light rail, be accelerated to provide certainty in planning for all stakeholders.

“We’ve been asked to finalise our investigations to support land use decision-making in the wider area by the City of Newcastle and Department of Planning and Environment (DPE),” Transport for NSW north region director Anna Zycki said.

“Significant work has already been carried out around broader precinct and city planning, as well as an alignment that integrates with future land use.

“Finalising the preservation of the light rail corridor will also provide certainty for developers in the Newcastle CBD, particularly in the vicinity of the Newcastle Interchange.

“Preserving it will also include work around the Broadmeadow regionally-significant growth area, with the Department of Planning and Environment leading an exercise for the redevelopment of the Broadmeadow area, including housing and a major sport and entertainment hub.”

Transport for NSW expects its findings to be completed in coming months and will subsequently publish a report outlining the option.

Stakeholders including council, the DPE and Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation continue to be engaged in the investigations with Transport for NSW.

The NSW Government has committed to delivering Strategic Regional Integrated Transport Plans for the nine regions across the state identified by the Department of Planning and Environment, including the Hunter. 

The strategy will set the direction for continuing to improve every part of the transport system for the benefit of passengers, the community and the economy. 

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