AN OFF ramp from the Pacific Motorway at Varsity Lakes will be closed tonight and remain shut for the next 12 months as work to upgrade the M1 on the southern Gold Coast ramps up.
Transport and Main Roads South Coast Regional Director Paul Noonan said the closure of the southbound exit at Stapley Drive (Exit 84) was necessary as part of the $197.5 million upgrade between Mudgeeraba and Varsity Lakes.
The major project – set to be completed in mid-2020 – will see the M1 widened to three lanes in each direction between Exits 79 and 85, and to four lanes northbound between Robina (Exit 82) and The Link Way (Exit 80).
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On and off ramps will also be extended to meet current design standards, and new bridges will be constructed over Mudgeeraba Creek to better withstand future flood events.
Mr Noonan said major construction work was now underway around the Stapley Drive interchange as crews lowered the southbound carriageway by up to three metres and built a new off-ramp.
“In addition to the new bridge works at Stapley Drive, the southbound off-ramp will be closed for about 12 months to continue realigning the off-ramp,” Mr Noonan said.
“The Stapley Drive intersection at the off-ramp will also be adjusted to suit the new four-lane bridge over the M1.
The southbound off-ramp at Varsity Lakes Exit 84 will close at 10pm tonight (Sunday, September 23, 2018) and remain closed until this time next year. See map below for detour information.
“The Stapley Drive bridge will remain open to traffic during the ramp closure, and motorists accessing the western side of the M1 can detour via Exit 85 Reedy Creek, Scottsdale Drive and then over the Stapley Drive bridge.”
Mr Noonan said extensive traffic modelling had been completed in preparation for the ramp closure.
“Once the ramp is closed, the traffic signals at the off-ramp and Stapley Drive intersection will be switched off, providing more green signal time for the intersections at Scottsdale Drive/Stapley Drive and Stapley Drive/Old Coach Road.
“Traffic engineers will closely monitor the performance of these two east-west intersections and adjust the signal timings wherever possible to maintain traffic flows.”
Mr Noonan said when the off-ramp reopened next year, traffic movements would change on the approach to the off-ramp to improve safety.
“Currently the southbound off-ramps at Varsity Lakes Exit 84 and Reedy Creek Exit 85 are only 450 metres apart which results in unsafe merging and weaving between the two exits,” he said.
“Following these changes, traffic will exit the motorway from one southbound off-ramp for both Varsity Lakes and Reedy Creek.
“This new combined off-ramp will improve safety for motorists travelling on and exiting the motorway.’’
On average, 80,000 vehicles travel the current four-lane section of the motorway between Mudgeeraba and Varsity Lakes every day, a volume which the State Government says “exceeds practical capacity”.
This number is expected to increase to more than 120,000 vehicles by 2026.
For further information on the upgrade and to view a video drive-through, click here.