The busiest street in Sydney's CBD is about to be closed for light rail work

An artist’s impression of the light rail on George Street.

Public transport in Sydney’s CBD will undergo dramatic changes at the start of October, as the NSW government brings forward construction work for a new light rail line down George Street.

The work is being brought forward by three weeks in the hope that it will reduce the impact on the crucial Christmas shopping period. Underground utilities are being moved ahead of the light rail build.

Bus routes into the city will change dramatically with the bus lanes down George Street closed from Sunday, October 4. Road restrictions and closures will begin from October 5. George Street will be closed to motorists between Market and King Streets from October 23, and from Market to Park Street on December 3.

The work is expected to take about nine months.

George Street will remains open to normal traffic outside of the construction areas.

Transport and infrastructure minister Andrew Constance said the work was beginning early to reduce disruption for shoppers.

“This allows the project to undertake selected low impact works prior to Christmas while still staying on schedule to deliver a pedestrian precinct in the area before next Christmas.”

But the minister admits it will cause difficulties.

“If I could sit here and put my hand on my heart and tell you there’s not going to be problems, I’d be lying to you,” Constance said.

Tightly controlled work zones, increased pedestrian access, lower impact hoardings and mid-block pedestrian crossings are being planned to reduce the impact between King and Park Streets.

The government is launching an awareness campaign on Sunday, called Tomorrow’s Sydney. Trip planning capabilities will be added to to help CBD users navigate the city and its closures during construction.

The light rail line is scheduled to begin operating in late 2018.

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