A NUMBER of temporary changes to operations in the Elizabeth Street Bus Mall have now been implemented to safely facilitate the development of the Hyatt Centric Hotel.
These changes include some bus stop relocations, changes to traffic access and relocation of Elizabeth Street motorcycle parking.
The City of Hobart, as the permit authority, has issued a permit to Hutchinson Builders to occupy part of the roadway in the Bus Mall between the Metro Shop and the Discount Chemist for the purposes of demolishing the existing building and constructing the new hotel.
“The changes were agreed to by Metro Tasmania and the Department of State Growth as the only viable solution to provide enough room for a worksite,” Hobart Lord Mayor Sue Hickey said.
The changes, which commenced on 10 December 2017, will be in effect for approximately two-years until December 2019.
The existing Metro Tasmania bus stops servicing the Eastern Shore will be relocated adjacent to Franklin Square on Elizabeth Street and to outside the GPO and old Mercury building in Macquarie Street.
Elizabeth Street (from Davey Street to Macquarie Street) will be limited to buses, taxis, emergency vehicles, bicycles and permitted vehicles, but access will remain open for all traffic heading toward the waterfront in Elizabeth Street (from Macquarie Street to Davey Street).
Motorcycle parking will be relocated from Elizabeth Street to Macquarie Street (adjacent to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery) and to Post Street, which is accessed from Franklin Wharf.
The existing Metro bus stop in Campbell Street will be relocated into Macquarie Street and will include the installation of a new shelter.
Changes have already been made to the traffic signals at the intersection of Macquarie and Elizabeth streets to facilitate the changed traffic arrangements.
Chairman of the Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Alderman Helen Burnet, said Council officers had been working with the developer’s contractor, Metro Tasmania and the Department of State Growth to reach a solution that would assist in getting the development built, but also minimise the impact on the public and nearby businesses.
“The Council approved the request in its role as the permit authority based on an independent traffic engineering assessment undertaken in conjunction with the Department of State Growth,” she said.
“In order to accommodate the construction footprint for a development of the size and nature of the Hyatt Centric, a temporary relocation of some Metro bus services is required.
“We have already advised directly affected businesses and there will be ongoing consultation with businesses and Bus Mall users by the contractor, Hutchinson Builders, as the project progresses.”
Metro Tasmania will also be undertaking a comprehensive communications campaign to advise their passengers of the changes.
Metro chief executive officer Megan Morse said Metro would have representatives in the interchange to support the transition and help customers understand the changes.
“I would encourage customers to check the Metro website (www.metrotas.com.au) for detailed information and maps, or call us (13 22 01) if they have questions about the new arrangements,” she said.
Alderman Hickey said Hobart was continuing to see unprecedented levels of development.
“This is good for the city, but development of the scale we are continuing to experience doesn’t come without challenges,” she said.
“There will be disruptions and some level of inconvenience and frustration with these changes, but we ask that people remember that these changes are temporary.
“I think that most people can appreciate that this is a necessary part of major infrastructure construction and that developments like this are good for the city.”
Pedestrian access on Elizabeth Street, past the Hyatt Centric worksite, will be maintained during the works.
However there will be occasions, such as when the tower crane is installed and dismantled, that minor detours will occur.
For more information about the changes to bus services, visit www.metrotas.com.au.
Photo credit: Alastair Bett.