Light Rail blamed as Cloud Arch faces axe
The 58-metre-high steel Cloud Arch would have risen above Sydney's Town Hall and the QVB.
Sydney's controversial Cloud Arch is facing the axe with backers blaming the equally divisive Light Rail project for killing the sculpture before it gets off the ground.
The 58-metre-high steel archway, which was expected to be installed in 2019, would have risen above Sydney's Town Hall and the Queen Victoria Building.
The arch was originally estimated to cost $3.5 million but the price ballooned to $11.3 million earlier this year, prompting shock jock Alan Jones to allegedly insinuate the project's champion, Lord Mayor Clover Moore, should be hanged from its beam.
Ms Moore defended the project but a report to be tabled at December 10's council meeting recommends the arch be deferred indefinitely because Spanish light rail builder Acciona repeatedly "denied access" to install the footings.
Acciona's operations in the CBD, the report concludes, caused multiple design changes, delayed installation and doubled the already inflated price to approximately $22 million.
The report recommends "council cancel the proposal for the contract in relation to the tender for the fabrication and installation of Cloud Arch" until the Light Rail is completed.
The denial of access to the artwork's proposed footings became a "significant challenge" for the artwork's builders despite an agreement between council and Transport for NSW, a council spokeswoman told AAP on Thursday.
Ms Moore expressed her disappointment but was concerned the project could have further deteriorated if council continued to push ahead.
She indicated she would reconsider the sculpture when the rail is finished.
"I don't believe we can justify the investment of ratepayer funds on this project at the current time," she wrote on Twitter.
Vocal opponent of Cloud Arch, councillor Christine Forster, fears Ms Moore will attempt to revive the "white elephant" once the Light Rail is complete.
"Rather than spending an exorbitant amount of money on this vanity project, the Lord Mayor should be redirecting these funds to assist the hundreds of people who are currently sleeping rough on Sydney's streets," she told AAP in a statement.
Acciona and TfNSW's partner agency ALTRAC has been contacted for comment.
Originally published as Light Rail blamed as Cloud Arch faces axe