A draft indicative design of the green track

10 August 2023

The ACT Government is building a new type of light rail track made from grass and other low-lying plants as part of the City to Commonwealth Park project.

On a green track, light rail sits within a bed of specially selected grass or plants, instead of concrete.

This has multiple benefits: countering the ‘urban heat island’ effect, absorbing more rainwater and helping to reduce noise and glare.

A green track prototype will be grown and tested at the National Arboretum. This will include all necessary infrastructure to simulate the city environment where the future light rail track slab will be laid.

The green track will be planted on Northbourne Avenue and will form part of the overall landscape design.

There will be another green track on London Circuit in front of the Melbourne Building.

To maintain symmetry between the heritage-listed Melbourne and Sydney buildings, the planting will be mirrored in the median in front of the Sydney Building.

It will also feature on Commonwealth Avenue.

The construction of the 20 metre by 30 metre section will also include installing sections of metal track and the infrastructure required to support light rail, such as concrete substructures and a vehicle location system.

Supporting infrastructure will also be required to ensure the structural integrity of the prototype, such as retaining walls.

Different turf mixes and irrigation systems will be rigorously tested.

This process ensures the suitability of the selected grass, groundcover, and tree species will flourish in all four seasons of Canberra’s climate.

The prototype will inform the final green track design, construction, and maintenance approach to be used on Light Rail Stage 2A.

Canberrans can preview this before construction commences. The prototype will be located just south of the Village Centre near Forest Drive at the Arboretum.

Work is expected to start in September 2023 and be finished in December 2023. This will then be followed by a 12-month monitoring period.

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