Projects in Focus - Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3A Project
The Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3A project is a step closer, after being added as a Priority Project on Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List. It is one of four major QLD projects, including three Bruce Highway upgrades, added to the national Priority List.
Australia’s largest non-capital city and a tourism magnet, the Gold Coast is home to approximately 600,000 residents and hosts millions of visitors each year. The Queensland Government expects the Gold Coast population to grow by 55% to 928,000 people by 2041. This makes it one of the state’s most rapidly growing areas and will increase the demand for transport within the region and for road congestion in its southern districts.
Challenges faced on the project
Strategically addressing these issues, the Queensland Government and City of Gold Coast want to encourage more residents to leave the car at home and to use the light rail instead. Stage 3A will extend the existing 20.3 km light rail by seven kilometres between Broadbeach South and Burleigh Heads, and build eight new train stations.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk expects it would take around three years to build Stage 3A, with trams possibly operating to Burleigh Heads by 2023. Replacing the existing local bus services, the light rail will operate from 7am to 7pm, every 7.5 minutes on weekdays and every 10 minutes on weekends.
Premier Palaszczuk says the QLD government is “all aboard” to build Stage 3a and is calling for a “fair funding deal” from federal government to get the project moving. Queensland has committed some $351 million to move the project ahead, while the Federal Government has invested approximately $112 million. Queensland is seeking additional Federal funding to fully underwrite the $709 million construction of Stage 3A.
The City of Gold Coast is committed to revitalising urban areas, including creating new station precincts along the light rail corridor, with this next stage getting more people using public transport, and connecting the southern Gold Coast to the rest of the line.
Boosting local employment
This construction stage is anticipated to create more than 760 jobs (the first two construction stages have already provided over 1,000 local jobs plus a further 200 operational jobs). To support the forecast population growth, approximately 170,000 new jobs are proposed within the Gold Coast region by 2041.
The region will always have a strong Brisbane connection and a large proportion of coast residents commuting daily to the city, but more local jobs will help to reduce travel demand. “Not only has Gold Coast Light Rail revolutionised public transport on the coast it’s also been a major job-creating project, which is a great boost for the local economy,” Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey recently commented.
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