The North Terrace bottleneck on Adelaide’s light rail network

In 2007 the first expansion of Adelaide’s light rail network for over 60 years was opened from the Victoria Square terminus along King William Street and North Terrace to the City West terminal. At the City West stop, the access to and from the dual track terminal was provided in the form of a short single track section running through a signalised intersection (North Terrace/Morphett Street). To coordinate movements in and out of City West, an ingenious integrated traffic control system was installed at the intersection to coordinate tram movements in both directions in and out of the terminal with the road traffic.

However, in 2010 the situation at City West changed. No longer was City West a terminal, but an intermediate stop on a new extension to the Entertainment Centre at Hindmarsh. With the rest of the corridor dual track, the single track section at City West becomes a bottleneck holding up trams when two trams approach the intersection from opposite directions at the same time.

The installation of a duplicate track near City West, marked in black, would require moving the west bound lanes south and the trees, marked in red, on the south side of North Terrace to be relocated. (Source: Nearmap)

Currently, trams operate at a frequency of 7-8 minutes outside peak hour in each direction, and as often as every 5 minutes in peak hour. If further extensions such as a city loop are to use these tracks or service frequencies increase, then this single section of track will need to be duplicated otherwise the delays caused by this section will continue to worsen. That would require alterations to both tracks and road lanes through the area as well as relocating the trees on the south side of North Terrace to allow the existing lanes to be moved south, the right turn lane to be retained and space for an additional track.

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