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$2.1 billion plan to bust North Brisbane congestion

$2.1 billion plan to bust North Brisbane congestion

The Palaszczuk Government has unveiled a $2.1 billion congestion-busting road plan for Moreton Bay and North Brisbane commuters.

The job boosting plan backs a new arterial road, informally dubbed the ‘Moreton Connector’, to be built between Dohles Rocks Road at Murrumba Downs and Anzac Avenue at Mango Hill.

It would also deliver upgrades to the Gateway Motorway, Gympie Road and the Bruce Highway, including new north facing ramps at Dohles Rocks Road.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the multi-billion dollar transformation of Brisbane’s northern road network would build on Queensland’s record $23 billion roads and transport investment over the next four years.

“The Federal Government is eager to look at what jobs we can create and what projects we have across Queensland,” the Premier said.

“This proposal is exactly the kind of key congestion busting road infrastructure they are looking for and is ready to go to the Federal Government.

“If we can work with the Federal Government to get this approved, this of course means hundreds of jobs and better commuting for people travelling on the northside of Brisbane.”

Deputy Premier and Member for Murrumba Steven Miles said the Moreton Connector will mean more Queenslanders can spend less time in traffic and more time with their family and loved ones.

“The Moreton Connector will reduce travel time for Queenslanders living on the northside of Brisbane,” the Deputy Premier said.

“It will also allow Griffin residents easy access to North Lakes and bring a number of jobs to the local economy, which we know is very important at this time.

“We are keen to work with the Federal Government for the people of Queensland.”

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said both levels of government had locked funding into future budgets for the northside upgrades.

“The Gateway Motorway, Bruce Highway and Gympie Road in this part of Brisbane’s outer northern suburbs collectively carry about 310,000 vehicles a day,” Mr Bailey said.

“That’s 100,000 more vehicles a day than on the busiest section of the M1, so it’s clear a plan is needed for new roads and major upgrades there.

“This is the plan that will deliver those upgrades.

“It will transform Brisbane’s northern gateway by re-designing the Gateway Motorway, Bruce Highway and Gympie Road interchange and build a new arterial road to take traffic off the Bruce Highway between Murrumba Downs and Mango Hill.”

Mr Bailey said both levels of government were committed to major road upgrades north of Brisbane and would work with Moreton Bay Regional Council to deliver the proposed new road.

“Funding that could deliver this plan is locked in future state and federal budgets,” Mr Bailey said.

“There is also a further $150 million in joint funding already committed to upgrade the Linkfield Road overpass and the Strathpine Road interchange, with works there due to start in coming months.

“We have the blueprint to deliver significant improvements to major roads right across the northern reaches of Brisbane.

“The next step is for us to get all three levels of government together so we can get work started as soon as possible.”




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Direct link from Brisbane’s Howard Smith Wharves to North Stradbroke Island planned

Direct link from Brisbane's Howard Smith Wharves to North Stradbroke Island planned

A new ferry link between Brisbane’s CBD and North Stradbroke Island will be open before Christmas, Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones says.

Ms Jones said $5.5 million had been provided for the construction of three pontoons at Howard Smith Wharves, near the Story Bridge, accommodating a ferry service to the island.

“Before the end of year, Queenslanders and Brisbane residents will be able to come down to Howard Smith Wharves, which will be the gateway to Moreton Bay,” she said.

“This is something that the tourism industry has spoken about for years. Through our growing infrastructure fund, we are proud to deliver this link from the heart of Brisbane to Moreton Bay.”

She said the pontoon would make ferry day trips to the Moreton Bay island much easier, cutting out the need to travel to Cleveland and Redland Bay.

The trip to North Stradbroke Island from Brisbane’s CBD currently takes about two hours.

It requires a 30-kilometre drive to Cleveland and a 30-minute ferry from Toondah Harbour to Dunwich on the island.

By public transport, from Roma Street Station, the trip takes two-and-a-half hours and includes travel by train, bus and ferry.

Member for McConnel Grace Grace said the new plan would mean the trip to Stradbroke Island would take only 40 minutes.

“From this heart of Brisbane’s city, thousands of my constituents can come down to the pontoon, get on a ferry and be in Moreton Bay on the beautiful Stradbroke Island that everyone in my electorate absolutely loves,” she said.

“This is a game changer. There are so many people right behind me in these apartments who will benefit from having their own pontoon right next door to them where they can hop on a catamaran, on a ferry and be on Straddie in 40 minutes.”

Ms Jones said negotiations were underway to get the boats operating by Christmas.

‘It’s rubbish’

John Groom’s family business has been running ferries from Cleveland, on the mainland, to North Stradbroke Island for more than 30 years.

He dismissed the claim of a 40-minute trip as false advertising.

“Sounds like a croc of rubbish,” he said.

“It’s impossible. There’s no real island within 40 minutes travel of Brisbane city.

“You’d get to the mouth of the river in about 45 minutes with a perfect run… if you could go flat out.

“No commercial vessel is allowed to do that. Commercial vessels’ top speed is 24.9 knots. That’s just the law.”

He estimated the trip would, in reality, take more than two hours.

“I don’t believe it’s going to bite into our business, because they can’t provide the service,” he said.




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Fresh calls for council to purchase former ABC Toowong site

Fresh calls for council to purchase former ABC Toowong site (1)

The Queensland Greens are pushing for Brisbane City Council and the state government to jointly purchase the former ABC Toowong site and convert it into a park after the major site was listed for sale this week.

The 15,000-square-metre site on the banks of the Brisbane River has already been eyed by the council as a potential landing space for a proposed West End-Toowong green bridge.

Property developer Sunland put the Toowong site up for sale through Colliers International, after years of planning to put a major development on the site.

A “champagne flute” plan for three apartment towers designed by Dame Zaha Hadid was rejected by the Supreme Court in 2018, but Sunland planned to lodge a new development application as of last year.

Sunland purchased the 1.5-hectare site at 600 Coronation Drive after the ABC abandoned its headquarters in December 2006 after a breast cancer cluster among female staff.

In The Medical Journal of Australia, a specialist wrote 10 cases of invasive breast cancer were diagnosed among 550 women employed at the Toowong site from 1994 to 2006. “These cases represented a more than six-fold increase in risk compared with the female population of Queensland.”

Colliers International’s Adam Rubie said he expected strong demand for the site.

“In Toowong, opportunities of this significant scale, just 3.5 kilometres from the CBD, are simply not available in absolute riverfront locations,” he said

“Demand for premium, owner-occupier product continues unabated in Brisbane and we have witnessed strong demand and increasing price points over the last 24 months.”

Greens councillor Jonathan Sri posted on social media calling for the council to purchase the entire site, while Maiwar Greens MP Michael Berkman said the site should never have been privatised.

Fresh calls for council to purchase former ABC Toowong site (2)

“… This could well be our last chance to reclaim it as green space for the people of Brisbane,” Mr Berkman said.

“This is a golden opportunity. The developer is clearly trying to offload this land during the COVID-19 downturn, so the government could get it for a good price now.

“Right now this land is sitting vacant and derelict while locals cry out for more public green space to offset growth, with the Toowong-West End green bridge proposed to land here and a major 25-story development planned for the former Woolworths site up the road.”

On Tuesday, lord mayor Adrian Schrinner said the council would like to purchase some of the site for the planned West End-Toowong bridge.

“That site is one of the options for a landing point for a green bridge between West End and Toowong. If that is the preferred alignment, and obviously we’ve got to some investigation and community consultation, then part of that site will likely be acquired,” he said.

“Back in 2009 when the ABC moved out and the federal government was looking at selling the land, we advocated very strongly at that time for it to be handed over to council and turned into a public park.”

The Rudd government sold the site, with Cr Schrinner saying the value of the site was “now beyond the reach of ratepayers’ affordability” to purchase the entire 1.5 hectares.

“But if we need part of the site to build a bridge, then that’s something we will be looking at,” Cr Schrinner.

Asked if the council would seek to purchase or resume the land, he said the first option would be to discuss it with the owner before resumption became necessary.

The expressions of interest campaign for the site ends on September 30.




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Council Releases Brisbane River Master Plan

Council Releases Brisbane River Master Plan (1)

Council’s vision for the redevelopment of $700 million worth of land along Brisbane River including Eagle Street Pier has been unveiled in its City Reach waterfront masterplan.

On the cards since 2014, the plans incorporate Dexus’ $2.1 billion precinct as well as 1.2 kilometres of waterfront between the city botanic gardens and the Howard Smith Wharves precinct.

The Kangaroo Point green bridge is also a major part of the plans, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to move between Kangaroo Point and the city.

The masterplan is divided into three sections according to development potential, and includes a breakdown of the type of stakeholders—described as either “public sector” or “private sector”—best placed to take “leadership roles” in realising that potential.

The Port Office section, closest to the pedestrian bridge and botanic gardens was considered to have the highest development potential, with the private sector considered most likely to take a leading role in realising plans for subtropical landscaping, activity areas, seating and pedestrian connection.

The mid-area, or Customs House section, considered to have lesser development potential, was skewed towards the public sector and would be revamped to provide pedestrian access along the water and heritage buildings, upgrades for Admiralty Park and substantial public space.

Development at the Story Bridge end would be led by the public sector and had the lowest development potential of the three sections, so improved access was the main objective, between existing residential towers, the water, Howard Street and Arch Lane.

Council Releases Brisbane River Master Plan (2)

The plan was recently updated with improved access to the waterfront, more shade and greenery as well as initiatives to enable the private sector to contribute to delivering the project following community consultation, which resulted in 400 submissions.

“The waterfront contains a range of commercial, residential and lifestyle uses and is a core part of the ‘Golden Triangle’, the location of key commercial office towers in the city centre,” council said.

“The role of the waterfront as an integral part of Brisbane’s inner-city will intensify as a result of new major projects, including Queen’s Wharf Brisbane and the Waterfront Brisbane development.”

Dexus is expected start construction on the Eagle Street Pier development this year.

Plans for the development were lodged in June and the property group was appointed by the state government to conduct a feasibility study on upgrading the waterfront.

On the other side of the city botanical gardens is the $3.6 billion Queens Wharf development, led by The Star Entertainment Group alongside its Hong Kong-based partners, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Far East Consortium.




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