The $160 million O-Bahn City Access Project has been officially opened at a community day marking the completion of the major construction project, which will improve travel for all vehicles in the city’s East End.

Buses will begin using the 670-metre tunnel this week, saving valuable time for passengers and improving the reliability of O-Bahn services.

On average more than 1,000 buses will use the tunnel each weekday, improving travel times for other road users by freeing up valuable space on the Inner Ring Route.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill and Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan officially opened the Project at today’s Community Open Day which provided an opportunity to thank everyone for their patience, from bus passengers to local residents, traders, and motorists.

The open day gave people a chance to view the impressive engineering works of the completed tunnel first-hand before buses begin to use it exclusively.

O-Bahn passengers travel free between 10am and 4pm today to get to and from the event.

The O-Bahn City Access Project has supported 450 jobs, providing employment to South Australians in the construction, professional and technical services industries, and more than $94 million of contracts have been awarded to local South Australian businesses.

Background

Construction of the $160 million O-Bahn City Access Project began in March 2016.

It delivers a 670-metre dedicated tunnel linking priority bus lanes on Hackney Road and Grenfell Street.

More than 700,000 on-site construction hours have been worked project – more than 90 per cent by South Australians.

The tunnel will improve travel times and reliability for Adelaide’s busiest public transport network, used for 31,000 boardings each weekday.

The project will also improve travel times and reliability for more than 79,000 road users who use this part of the Inner Ring Route each weekday, at the intersection of Hackney Road and North Terrace.

Quotes attributable to Premier Jay Weatherill

Today the Labor Government is delivering on one of our key election commitments to improve our most popular public transport network, the O-Bahn.

The O-Bahn tunnel is about easing the commute for more than 30,000 people who use the service every day. It’s not just bus passengers who’ll benefit - creating an extra lane for buses along Hackney Road and detouring them into the tunnel means more road space for other vehicles.

This major infrastructure project has supported hundreds of local jobs and provided millions of dollars of work for local South Australian businesses.

We’ve shown time and again that a Labor Government is the only government committed to delivering public transport improvements in South Australia and encouraging more people to catch the bus, the train or tram.

We’re already investigating how we can extend this critical public transport network further to Golden Grove to give even more residents in the north eastern suburbs the opportunity to get on-board.

Quotes attributable to Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan

It’s a huge credit to all involved in this complex infrastructure project, particularly the major contractor McConnell Dowell, that the tunnel has not only been completed on time but also on budget.

Today is a great opportunity to thank the hundreds of workers who built this project, as well as the bus passengers, traders, residents and motorists for their patience during construction.

The tunnel is a critical piece of infrastructure which will make bus trips on our busiest public transport network faster and more reliable, while also freeing up more road space for cars and other vehicles, particularly on the Inner City Ring Route.

We know that some O-Bahn services can take up to 20 minutes just to travel from Grenfell Street to Hackney Road and that just shows how significant the benefits from this project will be.

The Liberals have shown time and again that they have no interest in funding public transport projects – they went to the last election without a public transport policy and almost four years on they still don’t have one.

By contrast, the Labor Government has not only delivered this tunnel, our ongoing investment is delivering many new projects including the tram and train network extensions, electrification of the Gawler line and upgrades to Park’n’Rides.

We want to keep investing in public transport in our State and that includes looking at the feasibility of extending the O-Bahn to Golden Grove, so that even more people can enjoy the benefits of our most popular public transport network.