by Tony Moore
A shorter, cheaper alternative route for the second stage of the Gold Coast’s proposed light rail project has been unveiled which would allow it to connect to the main rail line to Brisbane by Commonwealth Games time.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott a fortnight ago told Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at COAG he would consider a Commonwealth Games “enhancement” funding package that could include funding for the second stage of the light rail. The first stage has carried more than 6 million passengers between Southport and Broadbeach.
At the Gold Coast University Hospital at Southport on Tuesday deputy premier Jackie Trad and Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate released details of the cheaper, shorter alternative plan and called for tenders for the stage two work. Their submissions will outline a final price to go into the funding submission to Mr Abbott. Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate made his view clear by asking Prime Minister Tony Abbott to look favourably on the new funding submission. “Tony, don’t be a missing link,” Cr Tate told reporters.
The new stage two light rail route:
- is only 7.3 km long;
- requires only eight property resumptions; two full resumptions, six partial resumptions;
- previous plan involved 70 resumptions;
- from Gold Coast University Hospital down northside of Smith Street Motorway
The new route is seven minutes faster than the previous route which ran down Olsen Avenue and then turning north to Helensvale train station:
- 11-minute trip from Helensvale station;
- two park-and-rides with 1400 car spaces;
- includes three mini-stations along the Helensvale to university link;
- connects with the existing stage one at Gold Coast University;
- similar look to stage one tram system;
- construction time is around 108 weeks.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said business had three weeks to lodge expressions of interest to complete stage two of Gold Coast’s light rail.
“What it will mean is that there will be a seamless transition from Brisbane particularly to the Commonwealth Games through heavy rail and light rail,” Ms Trad said. “Which is a fantastic thing for the Commonwealth Games.” Ms Trad made it clear that Tuesday’s announcement was “another step along the way.” “What we are doing is seeking a final price for the design and construction of stage two so that we can finalise our submission to the Commonwealth Government in order to secure Commonwealth Government funding.”