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Govt won’t rule out demolishing houses for O-Bahn extension

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The State Government says it is too early to know whether it will have to knock over houses for its proposed O-Bahn extension to Golden Grove.

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The Government this morning announced it would spend $500,000 on a feasibility study to consider the merits extending the O-Bahn – the high-speed, guided bus corridor that currently runs from Tea Tree Plaza to the CBD – to Golden Grove in Adelaide’s northeast.

Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan told morning radio widening Golden Grove Road was one of the options under consideration to accommodate the proposed extension.

Golden Grove Road is surrounded by parks on both sides for much of its length – however, at some points, the boundaries of houses and businesses come near to the road.

Asked whether the extension would necessitate houses being demolished, a Government spokesperson did not rule out the possibility.

“It is too early to say which route an extension of the O-Bahn bus network would likely take,” the spokesperson told InDaily in response.

“Possible routes will be considered as part of the feasibility study.”

Mullighan told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning that the study would consider “what the possible alignments are, whether it’s a new track that needs to be installed – similar to what we’ve currently got on the O-Bahn – or whether we try and augment the existing road network, for example, Golden Grove Road, to try and get some extra capacity on there so that the buses can effectively run as express along that road”.

“We just need to work out not just what the costs are but I guess what that additional benefit would be of having a track over a road-based solution,” he said.

Former Transport Department chief executive Rod Hook told InDaily he did not know whether the extension would require compulsory property acquisitions for demolition.

However, he said it was possible.

“Sometimes you need to do (that) for transport projects,” he said.

He added that he supported the announcement.

“I would think it would be one of the potentially more important public transport (projects) that is worth investigating,” he said.

Hook cautioned, however, that the O-Bahn was now more than 30 years old, and the Government needed to be sure the existing track was “viable” before extending it.

“They do need to have a good look at the maintenance of the O-Bahn,” said Hook.

“If you are extending it you have to make sure that it’s a fully viable (piece of infrastructure).

“I’d hope that something that was built 30 years ago would last more than 30 years (but) it does need a full overhaul and maintenance.”

Mullighan also told the radio program the $500,000 budget was required, both for engineering work within the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure and for external consultants.

“We’ll need some external expertise,” he said.

Asked about the timing of the announcement, ahead of the March 2018 state election, Mullighan said “we’re not saying that this study will be completed before the election”.

“Regardless of who forms Government after the election … the aim is to have a large body of work done by the Transport Department for whoever may be on the Treasury benches so that they can consider how we can further improve public transport out in the north-eastern suburbs, and continue taking a bit of pressure off those main roads like North East Road.”

The Liberals have indicated they will support the study.

An extension to the O-Bahn was not included in the Government’s integrated transport plan, released in 2013.

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