How trams will transform Gold Coast Hwy

MAYOR Tom Tate wants to fast-track business case funding for light rail's controversial extension to Gold Coast Airport to make it "shovel ready" within three years.

The Bulletin on Saturday revealed a two-year study by international consulting firm Jacobs Engineering has found a controversial coastal route from Burleigh through Palm Beach is the preferred option to complete the tram system's north-south link.

No funding has been announced or a timeline of when the work will begin.

The tram’s proposed route.
The tram’s proposed route.

POLLIES SLAM LIGHT RAIL PLAN

But Cr Tate says he's prepared to put council's money on the table within two months - provided he wins this month's election.

Cr Tate, a longstanding supporter of the Palm Beach route, says he will bring up a 50-50 funding split on a business case with the State Government for Stage 3B at the new council's first special budget meeting.

"Similar to what we did with Stage 3A, the city and the government got together and got the project moving.

"I expect this will cost $10-12 million and I want us to contribute half to make sure it remains on track because my wish is that once the Burleigh link is completed, this project should be shovel-ready."

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Mayor Tom Tate. Picture: Jerad Williams
Mayor Tom Tate. Picture: Jerad Williams

The State Government-commissioned study supports several other major projects, including:

* 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.

How trams will look in central Palm Beach. Picture: Supplied
How trams will look in central Palm Beach. Picture: Supplied

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Community consultation will begin later this month on the proposed route.

The council and State Government previously jointly funded a $10 million business case on Stage 3A, to run between Broadbeach and Burleigh Heads.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey left the door open to working with the council on a 3B feasibility once community consultation is completed later this month.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey. Picture: Jerad Williams
Transport Minister Mark Bailey. Picture: Jerad Williams

"We want to consult with the community and hear their perspectives first (before discussing funding)," he said.

"We worked well with council in the past to deliver the previous stages of the light rail and I believe co-operation between governments is the way to do things and I look forward to this continuing."

How trams will cross Tallebudgera Creek Picture: Supplied
How trams will cross Tallebudgera Creek Picture: Supplied

The State Government is yet to commit to funding the Airport link, which will also require significant contributions from the Federal Government and Gold Coast City Council.

Some resumptions are expected to occur as part of construction for Stage 3B, but the size and scope of this will not be known until a detailed business case is completed.

Among the biggest supporters of the southern light rail is Queensland Airports boss Chris Mills who welcomed the news, saying it would have many benefits.

The trams are proposed to go south. Picture: Supplied
The trams are proposed to go south. Picture: Supplied

The Airport has long held plans for a light rail station at its terminal, as well as a room for a heavy rail stop.

"We have long advocated for the light rail to the airport and our preference has been for it to follow the Gold Coast Highway, so we are pleased to hear that is the direction that has been recommended by this study," Mr Mills said.

"About 6.5 million people come through Gold Coast Airport each year and the vast percentage are leisure travellers, so we need an efficient and easy public transport linkage that accommodates visitors to the city and local residents well into the future."


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