Before and after images show how much Sydney’s big transport projects have changed the city
YOU don’t need to tell Sydneysiders that a construction boom is taking place across the city. The number of closed roads and bulldozers roaming is sign enough.
But new a batch of aerial before and after photographs have shown just how much the city has changed as $33 billion worth of new rail lines, light rail tracks and motorways are built. And that’s before a single train, tram or car has travelled along the new routes.
However, as well as portraying progress, the images show what’s been lost for the new projects.
Scores of homes have disappeared to add new lanes to the WestConnex motorway network while an entire block of apartments and hundreds of trees have been sacrificed for Sydney’s new light rail system.
Rob Newman, CEO of aerial imagery company Nearmap which created the images, said they captured how quickly Australia’s largest city was changing.
“Sydney is in a period of incredible flux. The rapid progress made on these transport projects shows just how quickly the government is moving to prepare for Sydney’s rising population.”
SYDNEY METRO NORTH WEST
Cudgegong Road terminus, Rouse Hill
Just a few years ago, the area around Cudgegong Road in Rouse Hill in Sydney’s north west, was just fields. Arable land has now been replaced by a huge construction site for the terminus and depot for the $8.3 billion Sydney Metro North West rail line, due to open in 2019.
A so-called ‘sky bridge’, passing over roads and open land, will take passengers towards the city.
The area is still largely rural but the Government is hoping the new rail link will turn the countryside around Cudgegong Road into a residential boom town.
Castle Hill station
What was once a reserve at the centre of this busy suburb in Sydney’s north west is now a great big hole where a new underground station — 25 metres below the surface — is being dug.
From here trains will take 45 minutes to reach Sydney’s CBD. But for the time being you’ll have to change onto an already busy suburban train to get there, with the phase two extension to the city not due to be completed until the mid-2020s.
SYDNEY LIGHT RAIL
Devonshire St, Surry Hills
In what comes as a constant surprise to Melburnians, Sydney already has trams — albeit ones that are hard to spot as they slide quickly out of the city.
The $2bn new system will mean trams are a lot more high profile. The trams will completely take over the CBD’s main thoroughfare of George St, passing Circular Quay and Central Station, before heading off to the trainless eastern suburbs.
Olivia Gardens, Surry Hills
While Sydney’s new tram will mostly run on existing roads, in inner city Surry Hills an entire apartment block had to be felled, as these photos show.
In 2015, 70 residents of the Olivia Gardens complex moved out as a vehicle known as ‘The Wrecker’ moved in and tore down the buildings.
Tracks will be laid from left to right across the centre of the image.
Sydney Light Rail says green space will replace the flats.
One of the most controversial aspects of the light rail construction was to move the tracks from the racecourse side of the road in Randwick to the edge of Centennial Park.
While only a few metres from its original route it meant sacrificing at least 100 century old trees on the edge of the park.
The entire project has seen the axing of 800 although the Government says they will be replaced by far more new growth trees.
These pictures show a line of trees along Alison Road that are now just woodchip as well as the new light rail depot at the picture’s bottom left.
Kogarah Golf Club, Arncliffe
The big daddy of Sydney’s transport construction projects, the state government is splashing a cool $20bn on the WestConnex motorways.
The M4 and M5 motorways will be widened and extended with a new road, linking the two, built beneath the city’s inner west.
In Arncliffe, adjacent to Sydney Airport, a local golf club has had a huge bite taken out of it to build a new M5 freeway tunnel. Following a route roughly along the top of the course it will then emerge above ground at a massive new junction at St Peters.
Even when the tunnel is complete, and most of the golf course is restored, a section will be permanently off bounds to house a ventilation shaft and water treatment facility.
Source: Benedict Brook and Victoria Neilsen, “Before and after images show how much Sydney’s big transport projects have changed the city”, News Corp Australia, April 20, 2017