Artwork of the Wickham transport interchange. Supplied by the NSW governmentLEWIS’S VIEW
THIS is how the new Wickham transport interchange could look, becoming a hub for thousands of passengers travelling around Newcastle, the state government says.
The artist’s impression shows for the first time what the government has in mind for the project, but residents can still have input into the final design when a review of environmental factors report goes on display for comment from today.
Transport and Hunter minister Gladys Berejiklian said the interchange, west of Stewart Avenue, would ‘‘transform the area and provide seamless connections for customers catching trains, buses, light rail and taxis’’.
Up to 150 jobs would be created during construction, with work to truncate the heavy rail line to start on Boxing Day.
The interchange will take about two years to build.
‘‘I expect to see growth and investment around the new modern transport hub, as well as benefits for existing Wickham businesses – both in the short term during construction and in the longer term when more people start using the interchange,’’ Ms Berejiklian said.
But it will come at a cost of as yet unspecified delays for some passengers.
A summary of the environmental factors review flags the changes, which will include the installation of light rail between Wickham and Newcastle, and will ‘‘result in travel time increases for some rail customers’’.
Motorists, however, would benefit when the Stewart Avenue crossing is permanently opened.
‘‘Today more than 20 per cent of car trips are held up at the Stewart Avenue railway crossing every morning,’’ Ms Berejiklian said. ‘‘Opening up this crossing will improve traffic movement through the CBD, particularly in peak periods.’’
The summary says the closure of the level crossing in Railway Street to make way for the interchange is likely to have an ‘‘acceptable’’ impact on surrounding traffic, although detailed modelling is still being done. Traffic flow on some sections of Charles Street and Station Street would become one way.
The operational rail noise from a new stabling area north of Hamilton station would exceed noise criteria at the nearest houses, without mitigation measures.
‘‘The final design of the station and associated facilities would take into account all relevant considerations, including its future role as a gateway to the Newcastle city centre, heritage, urban design and visual impacts,’’ the report said.
The project’s review of environmental factors will be available for viewing at Newcastle, Hamilton and Maitland libraries, Newcastle City Council and online at www.transport.nsw.gov.au/projects.
Community information sessions will also be held at:
– Croatian Wickham Sports Club from 4pm on August 5
– Southern Cross Hall on Hunter Street from 4pm August 6
– Gallipoli Legion club at Hamilton from 4pm August 14
– Croatian Wickham Sports Club from 11am Saturday August 16.