The State Government ends years of debate by announcing the last stage of the light rail will run along the coast to the airport.
A two-year study by international consulting firm Jacobs Engineering has found the controversial coastal route from Burleigh through Palm Beach is the preferred option to complete the tram system’s north-south link.
* An oceanway pedestrian path along the beachfront.
* An animal crossing overpass between the headland and Burleigh National Park.
* New pedestrian and light rail bridges over Tallebudgera Creek.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the study’s results showed a direct route down the Gold Coast Highway to the airport at Coolangatta was the best way forward.
“The conversation about the southern Gold Coast light rail extension from Burleigh to the Gold Coast Airport needs to start now,” Mr Bailey said.
“The study concludes that route will best support local transport needs as well as jobs and economic development on the Southern Gold Coast.
“Now it’s time for us to hear what the people of the Gold Coast have to say, so they can help us plan the next major projects that will support local jobs and better connect the Coast.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will unveil the study’s results this morning but the Government is yet to commit to funding the link, which will also require significant contributions from the Federal Government and Gold Coast City Council.
A timeline is yet to be proposed, but work is expected to begin once the $709 million Stage 3A from Broadbeach to Burleigh Heads is completed.
Early works and surveying is already underway with major construction set to begin later this year. It is scheduled to be running in 2023.
The study also suggests the completion of the $1 billion M1 upgrade between Varsity Lakes and Tugun, which includes new service roads, would reduce traffic on the Gold Coast Hwy.
Community consultation will begin later this month on the proposed route.
“We are building better transport for residents and planning so that the Gold Coast’s transport network evolves to meet the demands of future,” she said.
“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.”
“The voices of local people must be heard when it comes to future transport planning,” she said.
“On the southern Coast, we need to always make sure the Government listens to us about how we best improve our roads, rail and walkways so we can have more time with our families doing the things we love.”
Burleigh MP Michael Hart has long advocated for the trams to turn west from Burleigh Heads and link up with heavy rail.
Cr Tate yesterday said: “This is great news confirming what we already knew and what the community has told us they want. Congratulations to the State Government for undertaking this work now so that detailed planning can get underway as soon as possible.
“I look forward to all tiers of government working together again, to get us all the way to the Gold Coast Airport.”
Gold Coast Light Rail Business Advisory Group chairman Stephen Harrison said he was excited by several of the Government’s proposals, including the Oceanway expansion.
“For the first time in the Gold Coast’s history we will have a transport network which works and this will comprehensively address the current transport requirements as well as cater for growth,” Mr Harrison said.
“This is a really exciting opportunity and the Oceanway will be tremendous to have it completed through the south.
“Will there be opposition to this? Yes, but this will mostly be from private land owners.”