It’s full speed ahead for the Gold Coast’s Light Rail, with both the Council and State Government confirming the Gold Coast Highway route is ‘set’.
The 13-kilometre extension will run from Burleigh all the way through to the Airport down the Highway, which will mean reducing road lanes through the narrow stretch of Palm Beach.
New video footage of the track has been released by the state government today, as community consultation gets underway this week.
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Transport Minister Mark Bailey says the only way is down the highway.
“We’ve done the independent report about the route, the route is set.
“But how we do that, there is a lot of different ways and we want the community’s input there,” Minister Bailey said this morning.
Some of those ‘different ways’ include the following, according to the state government’s website.
- Improved Palm Beach Avenue precinct
There is the potential to provide alternatives for through traffic so the intersection of Palm Beach Avenue, Gold Coast Highway and Cypress Terrace can be transformed into a pedestrian-friendly precinct, with the opportunity for street-front dining, shopping and urban renewal.
- Active transport
There is the opportunity to provide new dedicated bridge crossings for bikes and pedestrians across Tallebudgera and Currumbin Creeks.
There is the opportunity to develop a beachfront ocean way path along the full length of Palm Beach to provide high standard bike riding and walking tracks.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate is backing the plan and says it’s a magnificent ‘whole city project’.
“It’s our solution to keep cars off our main roads because there more public transport usage.
“And the elderly because of their mobility will have another option to get around our city.
“It’s the best solution to get to and from the airport quickly and seamlessly.
“People who arrive want to get to their hotels, whether it be in Miami, Broadbeach, Surfers Paradise, Southport. That’s the key part,” Mayor Tom Tate said.
The Mayor also had some choice words for those in opposition to the Light Rail.
“There’s no secret that the minority of the Palm Beach community don’t like the idea.
“And for those minority, you can serve them a caesar salad and they’ll say they hate anchovies.
“But to the majority of Palm Beach, when I go down there, they love it. With or without anchovies, bring it on,” the Mayor said.
Funding wise, the state government has committed $1.5 million to undertake the transport planning study (Tugun to Coolangatta) and $5 million (joint state and council funding) has been committed to undertaking a preliminary business case for light rail planning.
That business case is due to be complete next year.
Mayor Tom Tate says he doesn’t see a problem with all tiers of government coming on board for funding the project through its construction phase.
“They’re (the federal government) basically backing it – so the funding – three tiers of funding will be available, the same percentage.
“And looking forward to all of us getting on board,” Mayor Tom Tate said.
For more information on the light rail stage four extension, visit the Queensland government website here.