MOTORISTS will slowly start to see some changes on the M1 at Varsity Lakes with the new interchange due to open in stages from today.
Transport and Main Roads (TMR) South Coast Regional Director Paul Noonan said the new interchange would improve safety along this busy section.
“The original Varsity Lakes (Exit 84) and Burleigh Heads (Exit 85) southbound off-ramps were close together, creating difficult weaving situations,” Mr Noonan said.
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“Combining these two exits into one off-ramp will remove this weave movement, improve safety and also ensure smoother traffic flows.
“All existing traffic movements will still be supported, with Varsity Lakes and Stapley Drive traffic diverging off from the left-hand lane, while Burleigh Heads and Reedy Creek Road traffic will continue on in the right-hand lanes of the off-ramp.
“The new two-lane off-ramp is currently being realigned and lengthened, and once in its final configuration will be known as Varsity Lakes (Exit 85).’’
Mr Noonan said it’s another important step toward providing motorists with a more efficient motorway.
“There are significant improvements being made to the Varsity Lakes area of the M1 to ease congestion and cater for projected growth in the region,” Mr Noonan said.
“Work on a higher and wider Stapley Drive bridge will improve local road connections, while the new Varsity Lakes (Exit 85) interchange will help unlock capacity on the motorway.
“Staged traffic switches onto the new combined Exit 85 off-ramp will take place in coming months to allow construction widening work on the motorway lanes in this area.
“This is a long-awaited, much-needed motorway upgrade and the patience and understanding of motorists is greatly appreciated.”
“The first stage will be implemented tonight when the existing southbound Reedy Creek (Exit 85) off-ramp permanently closes and is replaced by one lane of the new combined interchange,” Mr Noonan said.
“Once opened tomorrow, both Varsity Lakes and Burleigh Heads traffic will use this single lane to exit the motorway.
“Access to Stapley Drive and the western side of the motorway will continue to be via Scottsdale Drive until the new overpass bridge is completed towards the end of the project.
“By mid to late April, conditions permitting, both lanes of the off-ramp will open, and all southbound motorway traffic will use the new alignment for about eight months so construction can get underway on the existing southbound carriageway.’’
The $197.5 million jointly funded project remains on track for completion by mid 2020.