THE route of the Gold Coast’s new ‘M2’ motorway has been locked in, with the final stretch now officially mapped out.
The State Government on Sunday announced the final route of the six-lane road had been gazetted, allowing it to be protected from new development.
It will run for 42km between Nerang and Logan and is tipped to take around 60,000 cars off the congested M1.
Dubbed the Coomera Connector, the new road will be located east of the M1 and, starting from Nerang-Broadbeach Road in Nerang, will travel through Helensvale, Coomera, Pimpama, Ormeau, Stapylton and Eagleby before connecting with the Logan and Pacific Motorway interchanges.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the new road was essential to alleviating congestion on the M1 and would provide an important north-to-south transport link for north Gold Coast communities.
“With more than 180,000 vehicles travelling on the M1 each day and strong population growth on the northern Gold Coast, we need to plan for the region’s future transport demands,” Mr Bailey said.
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“We want people to spend more time at home with their family and friends and less time in traffic, and that means responsibly planning now for growing communities between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
“Now, the entire 45 kilometre Coomera Connector corridor – including the final northern stretch to the Logan Motorway – has been officially gazetted as a future state-controlled road.”
The Nerang to Coomera section was gazetted in March 2016 and the Coomera to Stapylton section in May 2017.
The corridor has been identified in various public planning documents, such as published street directories, regional transport plans, planning studies and City of Gold Coast planning schemes since the 1990s.
Formerly known as the intra-regional transport corridor, the new road will provide more choices for local traffic and additional crossings of the Logan, Coomera and Nerang Rivers.
It’s also expected to cut travel time between the Coast and the Capital by reducing the number of local trips on the M1.
Mr Bailey said there was still plenty of work to do to bring the project to life.
‘‘The community will continue to be involved in future stages of planning for the corridor,” he said.
“Opportunities for consultation will be both in person at a series of information sessions and online.
“Community members will be able to learn more about the project and provide feedback using digital engagement tools such as collaborative mapping.’’
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The Palaszczuk Government has committed $5 million to undertake transport planning studies for the corridor.
Residents who live or have properties along the gazetted route have already been notified, while community information sessions are still being planned along the length of the corridor to gain community input into the short-listed options.
The community will also be given a chance to provide feedback about the project online.
A master plan will then be developed to determine the preferred option for the corridor and help determine how delivery of the project could be staged.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads says a timeline for construction has not yet been identified and will depend on the future traffic growth in the surrounding area and availability of funding.
The Department says it is also liaising with property owners regarding land sales and development applications and early acquisition of properties “may occur in some hardship circumstances”.
Planning continues to progress for the alignment.
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Piling works at Gold Coast Airport prepare the site for aerobridges
As part of the south terminal expansion, Gold Coast Airport will soon have aerobridges to increase passenger satisfaction, as piling gets underway.
Preparation work for aerobridges at Gold Coast Airport is underway, with a low-impact piling system working hard to prepare the ground for new infrastructure.
Lendlease has begun piling work on the airport’s $200 million Southern Terminal Expansion project, which will double the size of the existing terminal, delivering a new departure lounge, aerobridges, border-control facilities and additional retail space.
A brand-new, 80-tonne continuous flight auger (CFA) piling rig has been mobilised to site to construct foundations ahead of the eventual construction of aerobridges to connect aircraft to the new terminal.
Gold Coast Airport Property and Infrastructure Executive General Manager, Carl Bruhn, said work on the first 224 piles for the project had begun, using innovative techniques necessitated by the sensitive nature of the site.
“It’s exciting for us to see the first piles drilled and poured on the aircraft apron where we will be constructing the new terminal’s four aerobridges,” he said. “Aerobridges have been on the ‘wish list’ of many of our passengers and this is the first tangible step towards delivering those.
“It is essential our current airport operations are not impacted by this construction activity, so we have had to work closely with our building contractor to come up with solutions to minimise the impact wherever possible – both for passengers and surrounding residents.”
The 30m-tall piling rig will excavate and place 2,500m3 of concrete into 224 piles over the duration of the project, with pile diameters ranging from 600mm to 1,050mm. It is expected about four to eight piles will be installed each day.
To minimise disruption, piling reinforcement cages will be prefabricated offsite and installed with a 60ft crawler crane. If all of the piles were laid out in a straight line, they would span a total distance of approximately 2.6km.
Lendlease Building Queensland General Manager, Brad Protheroe, said the company had decided to use the continuous flight auger (CFA) piling system, which minimises disruption to surrounding infrastructure.
“The CFA piling system allows us to drill to the final depth in one continuous process, with stability to the surrounding soil reinforced along the way,” he said.
“At the same time the auger is withdrawn from the hole, concrete is pumped into the cavity through the hollow centre of the auger pipe to the base, meaning the hole is never left open or unsupported. Reinforcement is then placed into the concrete to complete the pile.
“This type of piling technique is considered the best solution for the structural loads and soil conditions on the Gold Coast Airport project as it is virtually vibration free, minimising the impact on adjacent infrastructure.
“It also minimises the noise impacts during construction on surrounding neighbours.”
Future construction milestones will see completion of the ground floor slab in coming months, topping out of the building in mid-2020 and the opening of the terminal in mid-2021. When the southern terminal expansion is complete, work will begin on the existing terminal refurbishment.
Roof completion marks USC Moreton Bay milestone
Contractors, dignitaries and future staff of the new USC Moreton Bay campus will celebrate a key construction milestone tomorrow (Tuesday 13 August), with the roof completion taking the project past the halfway mark.
Once the expansive foundation building is complete, the campus at Petrie will offer world-class study opportunities for residents in the region, starting with 1,200 students next year and growing to an expected 10,000 by 2030.
On Tuesday 13 August at 2pm, dignitaries and key members of the construction workforce will attend the site for a “topping-off” celebration at 2pm.
USC Chief Operating Officer Dr Scott Snyder said while the completion of the roof was the most visible milestone to date, much more was happening inside the foundation building.
“We are further along than halfway, and the fitout is progressing well,” Dr Snyder said.
“The ground floor of the teaching spaces all have glazing installed, the partitions are in and the services are well advanced.
“Soon the scaffolding will come down from inside the atrium to reveal ‘The Rise’ – the central indoor meeting steps – which will be quite spectacular.”
The three-storey building covers more than 16,000 square metres of floor space and, until now, the concrete structure has been the focus of construction by contract builder Hansen Yuncken.
“We’ve had more than 200 construction workers per day on site, and there’s a real buzz now as we can see the learning spaces taking shape,” Dr Snyder said.
“Academics and professional staff due to work there next year have been on a tour and they’re excited to see it all coming together.”
The finished building will feature a 480-seat lecture theatre, state-of-the-art learning technology, nursing simulation labs, engineering labs, a ‘makerspace’, library facilities and renewable energy initiatives. A virtual tourof the campus is available online.
The campus will open for Semester 1, 2020, with almost 50 undergraduate degrees available, including business, education, computer science and mechatronics.
Enrolment applications are now open and prospective students can apply for scholarships, including Moreton Bay Regional Council Scholarships worth $8,000 per year.
Dr Snyder said the campus would service the Moreton Bay region, which was projected to grow by a further 200,000 residents in the next 20 years.
Government Commits $351m to Gold Coast Light Rail
The Queensland state government has announced a $351 million commitment towards the next stage of the Gold Coast Light Rail that would connect the southern Gold Coast to the remainder of the line.
Stage 3A will extend the existing route by seven kilometres from Broadbeach South to Burleigh Heads and includes eight new train stations.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk expects it would take around three years to build Stage 3A, with the possibility of trams operating to Burleigh Heads by 2023.
But $709 million is needed to build the third stage. And what the Queensland government has announced is almost half, with the Premier calling on federal funding to increase its current $112 million commitment to the Gold Coast extension.
Palaszczuk says state government is “all aboard” to build the project’s third stage, but called for a “fair funding deal” from federal government to get the project on track.
The current commitment federal government has made to the Gold Coast project’s third stage is $112 million, or 16 per cent.
“What we’re asking the Morrison government to do is commit $269 million to the project which is the same proportion funding arrangement (38 per cent) they invested in stage one.
Stage 1 – The federal government committed 38 per cent of total costs.
Stage 2 – The federal government committed 22 per cent of total costs.
Stage 3A – The federal government has committed 16 per cent of total costs.
The prime minister is scheduled to be in Queensland this week for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), where the premier says the two will discuss the project’s funding further.
In the five years since its first operation more than 42 million passengers have used the G:link service. During the Commonwealth Games more than one million tram trips were taken.
The third stage of delivery is expected to create 760 jobs during construction.
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