Artist impressions, from top: a pedestrian-only ‘Eat Street’ during Parramatta Light Rail major construction; artist impression of a light rail vehicle at Lennox Bridge.

The $2.4 billion Parramatta Light Rail will connect Westmead to Carlingford via the Parramatta CBD and Camellia, revitalising the region and communities along the route. Major construction to deliver the light rail program began in 2020, with the network expected to commence services in 2023.

Transport for NSW acknowledges that building in the heart of an active city centre presents significant challenges. The beating heart of Parramatta is ‘Eat Street’, a famed dining precinct along Church Street, Parramatta, offering outdoor dining, bars, restaurants and cafés.

Parramatta’s Eat Street, which has been closed to car traffic since February, will now begin major construction. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many businesses have had no option but to temporarily close or modify their business models to adapt to NSW Government ‘lockdown’ regulations, social distancing, reduced foot traffic and reduced customer numbers. For all of these reasons, a number of significant initiatives are underway to support local businesses along the popular dining strip.

Transport for NSW is committed to supporting and managing impacts on local businesses during construction, and continues to work closely with local business owners to ensure they have the information and support they require.

What’s happening in 2020?

The construction schedule for Parramatta’s Eat Street  has been developed to minimise impact on local  businesses as much as possible.

June - November 2020

From 1 June 2020 (see map), major construction for the Parramatta Light Rail will begin along Church Street (including Eat Street), from Macquarie to Market Streets.

Major construction includes, but is not limited to, removal of the existing road surface, deep excavations, the laying of new underground utility services, footpath works and landscaping.

Nearly 2000 metres of colourful shadecloth and hoarding will highlight the array of local retailers and reflect the popular dining area’s rich cultural diversity. This construction hoarding is also being installed to ensure work areas are restricted for the safety of
the general public. At this time, outdoor dining infrastructure will be removed and construction hoarding will be erected.

Supporting local businesses

In light of the recent COVID-19 outbreak in NSW, supporting businesses during light rail construction is now more critical than ever. Transport for NSW is working hard to help businesses build resilience, adapt to changing arrangements and seek out new opportunities during construction.

More than 130 businesses along the Parramatta Light Rail alignment have signed up to free business support from Realise Business, appointed by Transport for NSW. ‘Activate Parramatta’, a Transport for NSW plan for businesses impacted by Parramatta Light Rail construction, has also been developed to promote local businesses, events and activities, including local area marketing campaigns offering special deals and discounts. Visit parramattalightrail.nsw.gov.au/businesses to find out more.

Download and activate Parramatta

A new app, ‘Activate Parramatta’, will be launched to attract local residents and visitors to restaurants and shops along the light rail route. Shoppers will have easy access to a directory of participating local businesses and the opportunity to win prizes if they dine or make a purchase at a participating restaurant, cafe or takeaway shop along the light rail route, including Eat Street.

Breaks from construction: Eat Street

A construction ‘grace period’ will be observed each year on Eat Street during the summer months, while the Parramatta Light Rail is being built. This is a commitment to local businesses from Transport for NSW to ensure that diners, tourists and shoppers do not experience constant construction works.

Each year on Eat Street, during the warmer months (from 1 November until 31 January), construction hoardings will be removed, temporary outdoor tables and seating will be introduced, and Transport for NSW will work with local businesses to deliver activities and events that will attract people to the Parramatta CBD.

Engineering innovation

The 2020 major construction schedule for Parramatta Light Rail along Church Street, Parramatta, will combine innovative technology and inventive engineering to minimise disruption.

Parramatta Connect, the construction delivery partner engaged to carry out these light rail infrastructure works on behalf of Transport for NSW, is using augmented reality and digital 3D technology to map more than 300 underground utility services which will provide real-time updates to inform construction planning.

By scanning the QR code, visitors to the precinct will be able to view a 360-degree image that extends six metres below the footpath to provide incredible x-ray vision of the network of utilities underneath. QR codes will be placed on hoarding and on shopfronts along the precinct to provide a glimpse of the labyrinth of utilities below ground.

 

The team will also use a micro-tunnelling machine (similar to a tunnel-boring machine, on a smaller scale) to drive underneath Church Street, from Centenary Square to the Parramatta River, to construct drainage and stormwater capacity. This is intended to reduce anticipated noise and impact from the work, compared to standard excavation. The tunnel will be about six metres below the surface, and launched from a pit in Centenary Square.

Above: augmented reality technology gives an under-the-ground view of important utility services found beneath Church Street.
Parramatta Light Rail will provide a boost to businesses, with around 28,000 people expected to get on and off light rail services everyday by 2026, with stops located in and around ‘Eat Street’ and Parramatta Square.

Keeping you informed

Transport for NSW is committed to providing regular and frequent information to the community and local businesses about the Parramatta Light Rail program, to manage impacts and keep people informed.

For several years now, Transport for NSW place managers have been door-knocking, surveying and talking to businesses along the Parramatta Light Rail alignment to gain a better understanding of how local Parramatta businesses operate, and to provide information and updates about the project.

We are not able to catch up with you face to face while we all try to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus but it is important to us that you continue to receive information about the project and works during this time. We appreciate your patience and invite you to contact us with any questions or concerns.

Parramatta Light Rail features and benefits

  • High-frequency ‘turn-up-and-go’ light rail services seven days a week, approximately every 7.5 minutes during peak periods.
  • 16 fully accessible stops, integrated into the urban environment.
  • Modern and comfortable air-conditioned vehicles, 45m long and driver-operated, carrying up to 300 customers.
  • Will integrate with rail, bus, Metro and/or ferry facilities at Westmead, Parramatta CBD and Carlingford.
  • Two shared light rail and pedestrian zones will be created along Church Street (between Market and Macquarie Streets) and Macquarie Street (between Horwood Place and Smith Street), Parramatta.
  • The Parramatta Light Rail will replace the train line between Camellia and Carlingford, offering frequent “turn up and go” services to connect Carlingford, Camellia, Parramatta and Westmead.
  • A new Active Transport Link (shared walking and bike riding path) will be built between Carlingford and Parramatta.
  • Fully integrated with the NSW Opal ticketing system for seamless travel.
  • Expected to take the equivalent of 25,000 cars off the road by 2041.