Major works have began on the $440 million Gold Coast light rail stage two extension, which includes the upgrade of Helensvale Station into a public transport hub.
Queensland Minister for Transport and the Commonwealth Games Stirling Hinchliffe said construction will start to more faster as the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games get closer.
“Bulk earthworks and excavation are underway to prepare for the installation of the track to ensure this gold medal project is Games-ready before April 2018,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“In an Australian-first, the stage two project will also deliver the first public transport station that will integrate all modes of passenger transport.
“The project will transform Helensvale station into a key public transport connector with heavy rail, light rail, buses and taxis within the same station footprint.”
Stage two of the extension will also link Brisbane and the Gold Coast by rail with Helensvale Station as the connection point in a one-transfer journey.
“This public transport hub will provide a bold new point of entry to the area and will also support the 2018 Commonwealth Games transport task with up to 3000 people an hour able to be moved by light rail from Helensvale into Southport, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“Four new trams will be required to service stage two and they have already been ordered.
“They will be built in Germany and arrive in Australia by October 2017 and a total of 18 light rail vehicles will service both stages.”
Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher said when stage two operations begin in early 2018, public transport users will have a one-transfer journey from Brisbane to the Gold Coast and the option of stopping at any of the 19 light rail stations with bus connections at key activity centres between Helensvale and Broadbeach.
“Helensvale Station on the Gold Coast will become a modern, multi-purpose transport hub providing local and international visitors with effective and flexible transport options in time for the Commonwealth Games in 2018,” Mr Fletcher said.
“This project will be vital to the success of the Commonwealth Games with visitors and spectators expected to generate strong demand for public transport during the Games.
“But it will of course deliver continuing benefits following the Games, offering light rail connectivity between key Gold Coast locations and connecting to the heavy rail network at Helensvale.
“This will bring benefits for many years, as the transport task expands in line with expected population and economic growth on the Gold Coast.”
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said the stage two light rail connection and duplication of the heavy rail line from Helensvale to Coomera would also unlock further economic potential for the region with the public already seeing this growth on two parcels of land near Helensvale station.
Stage two will contribute to the Queensland and local economy by providing up to 1000 direct and indirect jobs during construction, providing an immediate boost to the construction industry and long-term benefits to tourism and other Gold Coast industries.
Stage two will include three new light rail stations at Parkwood East, Parkwood and Helensvale and an extra 1400 park’n’ride carparks at Helensvale and Parkwood stations for drop offs.
The $420 million project will be delivered with a $270 million contribution from the Queensland Government, $95 million from the Australian Government and up to $55 million from the City of Gold Coast.