The environmental impact statement (EIS) for Australian Rail Track Corporation’s proposed passenger/freight and coal rail separation at Sandgate goes on display tomorrow at a number of sites around Newcastle.
Release of the EIS for the $40 million project, which will remove the rail bottleneck where the coal rail lines meet passenger and freight lines through the construction of a rail overpass, follows lengthy and extensive consultation between ARTC, local residents, environmental groups, the University of Newcastle and State and local government agencies.
“As a result of our consultations, we’ve made some changes to our original plans which will provide more benefits to the local community and to the environment,” ARTC Chief Executive Officer, David Marchant, said.
“We intend to create new habitat for the endangered Green and Golden Bell frog as well as removing weeds and other exotic intruders in the Market Swamp and we’re also upgrading community facilities next to the Sandgate Railway Station. “Add to these the primary reason for the project, to increase efficiency and remove delays for coal rail services, and we’ve got a project that will bring considerable economic, community and environmental benefits to the Hunter,” Mr Marchant said.
“This particular problem has been talked about for a long time. Everyone knew it was a problem that had to be fixed and now ARTC will fix it,” he said.
The EIS will be on display until April 26 at:
ARTC, Unit 5, 33 Newton Street, Broadmeadow; Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources, Suite 6, 464 King Street, Newcastle; Newcastle City Council, City Administration Centre, 282 King Street, Newcastle; Wetlands Centre, Sandgate Road, Shortland; GHD Pty Ltd, 352 King Street, Newcastle.
Issued: March 21, 2005
Contact: Brian Dale on 0418 204 198