A newly-released study into transport in the Southern Gold Coast has identified the preferred extension route of light rail and investigated the future of the M1 upgrade.
Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said the comprehensive, two-year study identifies a range of potential transport options including the preferred extension route of the next stage of light rail from Burleigh to Tugun, travelling along the Gold Coast Highway to the Airport.
The study also suggests that, once completed, the M1 upgrade between Varsity Lakes and Tugun could reduce traffic on the Gold Coast Highway, presenting new opportunities for pedestrian and bike-friendly boulevards at Palm Beach, Currumbin and Burleigh.
The Premier said the findings set the focus for the next phase of her Government’s record infrastructure investment on the Gold Coast, which has included major M1 upgrades and the transformational Gold Coast Light Rail project.
“There is $2.3 billion worth of upgrades happening on the M1 right now supporting 2000 local tradie jobs. We’re moving ahead with the second M1 and we’ve connected light rail to heavy rail at Helensvale,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“We’ve done so much but there is more work to come.
“We’re building better transport for residents now and planning so that the Gold Coast’s transport network evolves to meet the demands of future.
“I want the Southern Gold Coast to benefit from light rail just as the Northern Gold Coast has.
“Connecting light rail to the airport is also really important for a 2032 Olympics bid.”
Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, said the highway route for the next stage of Gold Coast Light Rail would simplify planning for future heavy rail extensions on the Gold Coast between Varsity Lakes and the airport.
“The current preserved width of the heavy rail corridor next to the M1 means we can’t accommodate future extensions of both light rail and heavy rail along that route,” Mr Bailey said.
“Directing light rail along the highway protects the M1 rail corridor for its principal use as a future heavy rail connection to the airport.
“The Gold Coast Highway route would travel close to where people already live, work and go to the beach and service popular destinations including the Burleigh Heads village, Palm Beach village, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Southern Cross University, Tugun, Bilinga and importantly the Gold Coast Airport.
“The ideas and opportunities this study has identified will be subject to thorough community consultation which starts this month.”
Queensland Airports Limited CEO, Chris Mills, welcomed news of the likely light rail alignment along the Gold Coast Highway, which would benefit visitors to the city traveling through Gold Coast Airport and residents.
“We have long advocated for the light rail to the airport and our preference has been for it to follow the Gold Coast Highway. We are pleased to hear that is the direction that has been recommended by this study,” he said.
“About 6.5 million people come through Gold Coast Airport each year and the vast percentage are leisure travellers, so we need an efficient and easy public transport linkage that accommodates visitors to the city and local residents well into the future.”
The Gold Coast Highway (Burleigh Heads to Tugun) Multi-modal Corridor Study identified the following opportunities:
- Improved Palm Beach Avenue precinct Transform the intersection of Palm Beach Avenue, Gold Coast Hwy and Cypress Ave into a pedestrian-friendly precinct with street dining, shopping and urban renewal
- Improved connectivity to the M1 Potential new service road through a widened M1 overpass at 19th Avenue, as part of the M1 (Varsity Lakes to Tugun) upgrade, improving access to Palm Beach
- Bike riding/pedestrian New bridges for bikes and pedestrians across Tallebudgera and Currumbin creeks
- Oceanway A beachfront Oceanway cycling and walking path along the full length of Palm Beach
- Toolona Street Improve the Gold Coast Highway and Toolona Street intersection by providing alternate access points and reducing traffic movements
- Burleigh Heads National Park Improve bike riding, pedestrian, light rail and vehicle access to the southern entrance of Burleigh Heads National Park
- Connectivity to Burleigh Ridge Park A land bridge connecting Burleigh Heads National Park and Burleigh Ridge Park to help protect wildlife and improve bike riding and bushwalking connections
More information on the study can be found at www.tmr.qld.gov.au/goldcoasthwymultimodalstudy