Newcastle's revitalisation goes underground as light rail project progresses

28 March 2018

Parts of Newcastle’s original sewer network dating back to 1909 are being replaced as part of light rail construction, saving the city from significant future disruptions.

The city’s first sewer network served just 52 properties with less than 40 kilometres of cast iron mains, which transported waste from people’s homes in Newcastle to an outlet at Merewether cliffs.

Some of the original cast iron mains are still in use through Newcastle’s city centre, and as part of preparations for the light rail system Revitalising Newcastle is replacing the sewer on Hunter and Scott Streets.

Revitalising Newcastle Program Director Michael Cassel said it made sense to upgrade essential services while light rail works were underway, saving ratepayers the future costs and disruptions.

“Part of revitalising Newcastle’s city centre involves ensuring the essential services below the ground like telecommunications, water and gas are located in the right places in the right condition.

“With construction underway along Hunter and Scott streets for Newcastle’s light rail, Revitalising Newcastle is taking the opportunity to replace part of the city’s original sewerage network which dates back more than 100 years. The mains are up to six metres deep, and by replacing them now and realigning them away from the light rail track we’re preventing future disruptions.

“The sewer work involves an innovative technique called micro-tunnelling, where a boring machine drills from one point of the street to another while lengths of pipe are jacked in place behind it.

“While our work brings some disruption for the community, we are committed to getting through it as quickly as possible. Once we do, things won’t just be back to normal, they’ll be vastly improved.”

Hunter Water Managing Director Jim Bentley said the utility was working in partnership with Revitalising Newcastle to ensure disruption to the CBD was minimised while undertaking essential upgrades.

“Rather than undertake works in the CBD before or after the light rail construction, Hunter Water has been working closely with the Revitalising Newcastle team to ensure essential upgrades can be made in unison with the light rail project.

“This saves the residents, businesses and commuters in the CBD being disrupted again in the near future when these sewer mains would otherwise have been replaced,” Mr Bentley said.

The sewermain replacement work will not require any outages or cause disruption to services.

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