Peak body Engineers Australia is calling for changes to the proposed Newcastle Light Rail, which it says is currently flawed.

“Engineers Australia is concerned about flaws in the current scheme and recommends that relatively straightforward changes to the proposal could greatly improve its effectiveness,” Engineers Australia Newcastle division spokesperson Michael van Koeverden said.

“Engineers Australia has made its findings after a rigorous examination of the REF documents by a group comprising professional engineers, urban design architects and transport economists – all of whom have many years of relevant experience and strong knowledge of the urban issues facing the City of Newcastle.”

He said while the light rail would provide opportunity for transport improvement and urban revitalisation, however the final design needed to be improved to ensure good outcomes.

“The final design should show how the project improves the transport system and, ultimately, the city overall, including better travel times, less congestion and improved service levels,” Mr van Koeverden said.

“The final design should also show how the system integrates with other transport modes, including train, bus, ferry, cycles, pedestrian and road vehicles.”

There are four elements Engineers Australia say are important to the project’s success.

“Engineers Australia advocates that the light rail should stay in the corridor at least as far as Crown Street; there should be double tracks across Stewart Avenue; a more strategic planning project should be commissioned; and future extensions should be considered at this stage of planning.”

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