Transport Minister Stephan Knoll said the final stages of the tramline extension project would conclude in less than a fortnight, in time for passengers to start using the service on Sunday, July 29.
The Weatherill Government spent $80 million on a tram extension to the East End, aimed at ensuring a successful future for traders there, and for the redeveloped old Royal Adelaide Hospital site.
The cost included $10 million to speed up works ahead of the March 2018 state election. The project also includes a new stop on King William Road, near the Adelaide Festival Centre.
“It will certainly be very welcome news for South Australians that we now have a date set in stone for passenger services to begin,” Knoll said in a statement.
“Once tram services are up and running it will provide a real boost for the city’s East End, especially for the hospitality and retail businesses.”
He said the new service would help reactivate the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site, which the Government planned to turn into a “job creation, education and cultural precinct”.
The Government says there will still be minor works on the asphalt and footpaths at the intersection of King William Street and North Terrace, but that these won’t affect the start date.
In Opposition, the Liberal Party sought to capitalise on Labor’s decision not to include a right-hand turn from King William Street onto North Terrace as part of the tram extension.
Labor had rejected what was then, as InDaily revealed, a $20 million proposal to include the right-hand turn.
East End traders had said it would be the Weatherill Government equivalent of the one-way Southern Expressway.
However, Labor argued that a right-hand turn would have made services from Glenelg less frequent and that commuters would get to the east of the CBD quicker by transferring trams.
The Liberal Party promised they would install a right-hand turn at the intersection of North Terrace and King William Street, but have offered almost no further detail on the plan.
The Government has yet to indicate how it will manage the redevelopment of the intersection or whether it will be a ‘grand junction’, allowing turns in all possible directions.
A Parliamentary Budget Office costing of a right-hand turn at the intersection estimated in March that it would cost $37 million – although the PBO stressed it was a “low-reliability” costing.
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