Money Syd pubs 'crushed' by light rail delays

07:50  20 april  2018
07:50  20 april  2018 Source:   msn.com

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Publicans along Sydney's George Street are furious after learning that construction of the city's new light rail project will disrupt their businesses for a year longer than they'd expected.

The light rail - from the CBD to the eastern suburbs - was meant to be finished in 2019 but Transport Minister Andrew Constance was advised this week by ALTRAC that works will run until March 2020.

The additional year-long delay comes as subcontractor Acciona clashes in court with Transport for NSW over its demand for a further $1.1 billion to complete the project which is already costing $2.1 billion.

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"This is fraud, someone needs to go to jail," a visibly angry George Street publican, who wished to remain anonymous, told AAP on Thursday.

The man, who didn't know about the fresh delay until AAP spoke with him, said the "mismanaged project" had seen his revenue crash.

Numerous neighbouring businesses had been forced to close, he said.

"They are crushing us. We're an established business and can weather the storm but the mum and dad businesses, the small restaurants, they're being swallowed up by this."

Torn-up roads, traffic diversions and the constant sound of heavy construction equipment mean customers avoid the area, Albion Place Hotel publican Jeremy Cheetham said.

"People just don't want to be here," he told AAP, gesturing to the heavy machinery tearing up the road metres from his front door.

Mr Cheetham said politicians and the contractors had constantly lied. The additional 12 months of works would further damage local businesses, he added.

Star Bar manager Angie Crosbie says safety has been compromised because patrons have to walk blocks to find a taxi after leaving her venue.

Emergency services are also forced to park around the corner to access the pub.

"It's sad for tourists," Ms Crosbie told AAP.

"They come to Sydney and all they get is construction. They'll just go elsewhere in the city."

The three publicans all revealed they had not yet been officially advised of the new March 2020 completion date on Thursday.

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