Construction on the $709 million Broadbeach to Burleigh section of the Gold Coast light rail project could begin before Christmas.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the successful tender was about to be announced, as she announced business case funding for the next leg, linking Burleigh to the Gold Coast Airport, on Thursday.
Stage three, between Broadbeach and Burleigh, is funded by all three levels of government and the Queenland government has kicked in $2.5 million towards the $5 million business case for stage four.
“We’re nearly ready to award the contract to build the next stage of Gold Coast Light Rail from Broadbeach to Burleigh, creating 760 jobs,” Ms Palaszczuk said on the Gold Coast.
Already some buildings had been relocated, with power, water and gas utilities shifted and fences erected.
About the 40km Gold Coast light rail project
- Stage 1: Gold Coast University Hospital at Southport to Broadbeach. $1.2 billion
- Construction began in early 2012 and the first passengers boarded the light rail in June 2014
- Stage 2: Gold Coast University Hospital to Helensvale. $420 million
- Includes 7.3 kilometres of dual track and an additional four trams to connect the Gold Coast University Hospital light rail station (Stage 1) to the Helensvale heavy rail station
- Completed before the 2018 Commonwealth Games
- Stage 3: Broadbeach to Burleigh Heads. $709 million
- Route chosen, business case finished
- Tender about to be awarded
- Work could begin before Christmas
- Stage 4: Burleigh Heads to Coolangatta Airport
- Preferred route chosen
- $5 million jointly-funded business case now to cost the route
The Queensland government is contributing $351 million to the Broadbeach-Burleigh construction, the federal government has added $269 million and Gold Coast City Council is tipping in $91.5 million.
But plans are already in motion to extend the light rail link around the Burleigh Hill and down the Gold Coast Highway to Tugun and all the way to the airport at Coolangatta.
That money will be used to cost and evaluate a preferred route already chosen from a number of options examined by consultants Jacobs in March.
Cr Tate described having funding from the Queensland and federal governments for all stages as a “marquee moment.”
“Today is a significant achievement, to get a business plan for stage four of our light rail all the way to the airport at Coolangatta,” he said.
“I look forward to the consultancy and I would like to say ‘hats off’ to the Palaszczuk government for ensuring that this transport infrastructure is going to be a key element to keep our linear city moving.”
Ms Palaszczuk said major work was already underway to widen the M1 Motorway down to Varsity Lakes and Thurday’s $2.5 million allowed the Gold Coast light rail to progress.
“This partnership funding means we can now start planning for the 13-kilometre corridor from Burleigh Heads to Coolangatta,” she said.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said although some had other views, the consultancy studies showed most residents wanted the light rail to run along the Gold Coast Highway to Tugun, near the Gold Coast Airport.
He said the work showed it was inefficient to send the light rail link west towards the M1.
On top of the $5 million for the business case, $2 million has been pledged towards studying additional bus routes to improve public transport running east to west across the Gold Coast.
Originally published by Tony Moore in Brisbane Times HERE.