Preparing for stage 3 of the light rail – Broadbeach to Coolangatta Airport
PLANNING for the third stage of the city’s light rail network is about to become serious, with the council preparing to call design and engineering tenders.
Local firms stand to benefit from the third-stage design project that will take the network south to the Queensland-NSW border.
The council aims to officially call tenders in November in the hope of construction starting after the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Mayor Tom Tate, pictured at the Gold Coast Airport, holding up public consultation backing light rail to the border. Picture Mike Batterham
Many local firms are believed to be already preparing their bids for the $1.4 million design project, which will focus on mapping the route from Broadbeach to the Gold Coast Airport and Coolangatta.
The project will also investigate major engineering challenges and needs, including how to get around the Burleigh Headland and across Currumbin and Tallebudgera creeks, plus loss or relocation of parking and other services, such as street lights and road barriers.
Mayor Tom Tate said the tram system’s southern route could be split into separate sections as part of the study.
“Council may consider that 22 kilometres in two sections — Broadbeach to Burleigh — and then Burleigh on to the airport,” he said.
“We are applying value-for-money principles in planning light rail for our city and with stage two under way, it makes sense to get to tenders for the start of stage three in late 2017 or early 2018.
“That way, the expertise will be here to keep this game-changing project moving forward.”
Cr Tate said he hoped to be in a position to start lobbying the federal and state governments on the stage three funding model within a year.
“We are already looking at how urban design can support the city’s aim of consolidating urban population along the public transport spine extending along the Coast,” he said.
“This will mean less need for people to rely on car transport and support the cost-effective operation of light rail.”
The council committed funding for the project in its June budget and the route is likely to run along the Gold Coast Highway to Burleigh, with the southern connection likely to continue along the same path.
The first step towards the third stage’s development was welcomed by one of the state’s leading rail lobby groups.
Rail Back on Track’s Steven Jamieson said the “highly ambitious” push was commendable but the State and federal governments would soon need to become involved.
“This is going to be a major state project,” he said.
“The feasibility of this project must be done right because, without a good business case, we are not going to see state funding let alone from the Federal Government,” he said.
“This is going to be major state project which we are absolutely in favour of and I am happy to see it starting to progress.
“A lot has been learned during the first two stages which could no doubt be put into effect to make stage three smoother.”