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Gold Coast light rail stage two and Brisbane link unveiled

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.”

 
Source: www.brisbanetimes.com.au

Federal Budget 2015: Toowoomba’s second range crossing gets green light

Toowoomba’s $1.6 billion Second Range Crossing project finally gets the go-ahead in Tuesday’s federal budget with $317 million provided in 2015-16 to let the important freight project begin.

The long-awaited project has been one of Queensland’s highest-profile highway projects since it was developed in the early 2000s and has been subjected to detailed talks between federal and state governments since.

The $1.6 billion project is jointly-funded, with 80 per cent coming from the federal government ($1.285 billion) and 20 per cent from the Queensland Government.

Up to 1800 jobs will be generated during construction, which will provide an easier, faster alternative route – just to the north of Toowoomba – over the Great Dividing Range by diverting traffic away from central Toowoomba.

The Toowoomba toll tunnel will save 40 minutes in travel time through Toowoomba for heavy freight vehicles and take about 4000 trucks – 80 per cent of the freight vehicles – away from Toowoomba’s central business district.

The business case estimates the second Toowoomba Range crossing project will create around $2.4 billion in economic activity in the region over 30 years.

Work is expected to start before the end of 2015.

The Toowoomba project is the newest of six ongoing highway projects to receive funding in Tuesday’s federal budget.

The decision to allocate money to the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing Project was confirmed by deputy prime minister and infrastructure minister Warren Truss.

“Our record infrastructure investment is helping to create tens of thousands of jobs, eliminate congestion in our cities, increase the economic capacity of our freight routes and improve safety for all road users,” Mr Truss said.

“Upgrading major transport corridors like the Bruce Highway and the Pacific Highway to ensure Australia’s freight industry operates more effectively and businesses can take advantage of new trade opportunities,” he said.

Queensland has not received any funding from the Federal Government’s $5 billion asset recycling scheme, which has helped infrastructure projects such as Sydney’s Second Harbour Rail Crossing and Canberra’s Capital Metro light rail project begin in other states.

Labor defeated the Liberal National Party at the January 2015 Queensland election, campaigning against asset sales.

The Coalition federal government is considering opening up the Australian Rail Track Corporation to the private sector.

The ARTC is finalising the case study for Australia’s Inland Rail and is expected to release the final business case for this rail freight project in mid-2015.

The federal budget also includes:

$500 million for Bruce Highway works in 2015-16 (total $6.7 billion);
$50 million for the Gateway North upgrade on the Gateway Motorway (total $929 million);
$101.5 million for Warrego Highway works in 2015-16 (total $508 million);
$102 million for the Moreton Bay Rail Link project (total $514 million); and
$48 million for roadworks in the Cape York region ($208.4 million).
The details of those Queensland’s highway 2015-16 funding projects are:

$101.5 million for highway improvements between Toowoomba and Miles
$48 million to upgrade the Peninsula Development Road in Cape York;
$8 million to continue improvements on the D’Aguilar Highway between Caboolture and Kilcoy;
$10 million to build a $20 million two-lane bridge over the Dalrymple River near Townsville;
$50 million to continue the $929 million Gateway North Upgrade;
$102 million to continue the 12.6 km $1 billion new rail line from Petrie to Kippa Ring;
$6.5 million to improve Gladstone’s Kin Kora roundabout;
$10 million to build the Coomera Interchange on the Pacific Motorway;
$5 million to improve the Outback Way in Central West Queensland;
$30 million to improve the Peak Downs Highway near Eton Range, 40 km west of Mackay.

By Tony Moore

Source: www.brisbanetimes.com.au

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