Sydney’s Goods Line misses Gehry business school opening after delays

The incomplete pedestrian area next to the newly constructed Gehry building. Photo: James BrickwoodA Sydney project compared to New York’s famous High Line will not be ready for the grand opening of Frank Gehry’s first Australian building after becoming mired in delays.
Nanjing Night Net

The Goods Line, a former freight railway track being converted into a pedestrian and cycling connection linking Darling Harbour and Central, was expected to open alongside the UTS business school designed by the renowned architect.

But the official unveiling of the university’s Dr Chau Chak Wing Building will go ahead on Monday with most of the adjoining Goods Line yet to be finished, after the state government project missed the anticipated deadline.

The 250-metre northern section of the multimillion-dollar, wifi-enabled, elevated park and thoroughfare was due to be ready by “early 2015” after its initial November completion date was pushed back.

It was expected to be finished ahead of the next stage, the redesign of a southern section of the former freight line linking through to Railway Square.

The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA) said the contractor was working “tirelessly” to complete the first northern stage “as soon as possible”.

“Unfortunately, unforeseeable delays have slowed progress on site,” a SHFA spokeswoman said.

Delays associated with working around Sydney Trains’ high-voltage network, wet weather, design improvements and the delivery of pre-cast concrete panels used for key project elements like pathways, seating and stairs had all taken a toll on the timeframe, she said.

“UTS is a member of the [Goods Line] Steering Committee and has been kept updated on the project program throughout,” she said.

The Goods Line, billed as the civic “spine” of Ultimo’s education and technology precinct, is also expected to serve as a “visually attractive and functional frontage” to the Gehry building.

Work on the northern section, extending from the Ultimo Road underbridge through to the Powerhouse Museum, began in March last year.

UTS deputy vice-chancellor Patrick Woods said a 40 metre by 20 metre section of the Goods Line directly outside the Gehry building would be ready in time for Monday’s opening.

Mr Woods said the delays with the rest of the project had not held up the official opening of the business school building, which was completed in November.

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