Digging up Swanston St for Metro rail tunnel project will divide Melbourne like the Berlin Wall, Denis Napthine says

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Herald Sun: Digging up Swanston St for Metro rail tunnel project will divide Melbourne like the Berlin Wall, Denis Napthine says. Annika Smethurst. 17 February 2014

An artists’ impression of how Melbourne Metro station CBD South would look like. Source: Supplied

A plan to dig up Swanston Street for at least two years during construction of the proposed $9 billion metro rail project would divide the city like the Berlin Wall, Premier Denis Napthine says.

Dr Napthine has confirmed the State Government is looking at new options for the Metro Rail project, which originally included a 9km tunnel from Parkville to Domain interchange but would see the city’s main thoroughfare Swanston Street torn up during construction.

Heraldsun.com.au readers are appearing divided on the project (scroll below for comments), with one – Louisa – posting: “I’m gobsmacked that he has compared this to the Berlin Wall.

“The Metro Rail Tunnel is a crucial piece of infrastructure that is urgently required so that many other rail improvements across the network can be made. It will be a short term disruption for huge long term gain for our growing city.”

“The whole Melbourne underground rail loop did not disrupt Melbourne like a “Berlin Wall”, another reader, George, posted.

Meanwhile readers on the Herald Sun Facebook page supported the project, but some think an airport rail link is more important.

“Swanston St has been a disgrace for 20 years, this might improve it?” Dominic Papasergio posted.

“Yep, go for it. The quicker you start, the quicker it’s finished,” Drewe Cantwell says.

While Matt Daily writes: “Unless it relates to the airport, if not, (it’s a) waste of time.

Should they dig up Swanston St for the rail tunnel? Have your say below or on Facebook

As reported earlier, one of Melbourne’s busiest intersections at the corner of Flinders and Swanston streets would be dug up during the project.

Rail tunnel work will ‘divide city’

An artist’s impression of the Domain end of the planned Metro rail tunnel. Source: Supplied

“Having a massive hole dividing Melbourne would be worse than the Berlin Wall,” Dr Napthine said.

“It would be absolutely detrimental to the operation of Melbourne, to the economy of Melbourne, to the retail sector of Melbourne, to business in Melbourne it would be an absolute disaster for Melbourne.”

Dr Napthine said the government was committed to a rail project but wanted to get the best outcome for Victoria.

“It would be irresponsible if the government didn’t look at all of the options, all of the information available to get the best outcome for Melbourne and Victoria,” Dr Napthine said.

“Under the original Melbourne metro capacity project the proposal was that Swanston Street would be done as a cut and fill.”

“The engineering proposals said that was the best and most appropriate way to do the tunnel through the centre of Melbourne.”

Dr Napthine also hinted that the Fishermans Bend Urban Renewal Area could also be included in the rail expansion project.

“That area needs to be serviced by public transport, there are already plans about light rail and trams but if we can look at heavy rail option, that may be advantageous as well.

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