Any regular traveller between the Gold Coast and Brisbane can speak firsthand about the perils of the M1 Pacific Highway peak hour traffic.
Countless solutions have been presented to widen the highway and increase accessibility for travellers. The Coomera Connector is a proposed infrastructure upgrade currently being presented to the government for consideration in June 2021.
What is the Coomera Connector?
The Coomera Connector (M2) arose from the findings of a 2015 Transport and Main Roads and City of Gold Coast study.
The study concluded that with the population in the South-East corner rising and congestion continuing to grow, a travel corridor is required to help relieve the main highways of congestion and provide a more accessible local link for traffic.
While consultation for stage one of the proposal closed on October 11, 2020, a business case and reference design for the first stage of the Coomera to Nerang connection is currently being completed ready to submit to the government and finalised by the middle of this year.
The connection road is proposed to advance progressively in three sections:
- Nerang to Coomera
- Coomera to Stapylton
- Stapylton to Loganholme
While construction timeframes are yet to be confirmed, it is proposed that the first stage of construction will take place between Shipper Drive, Coomera and Helensvale Road, Helensvale in 2021.
(Coomera Connector Fly-Through as found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkRWpD2h8Ws&feature=emb_logo)
Why do we need the Coomera Connector?
With the Gold Coast population continuing to grow, the transport and highways infrastructure must grow with it.
Providing another option to divert traffic away from the main highway will save time and increase safety and convenience for those travelling on the M1 motorway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast and in the local area.
Not only will traffic congestion ease, but the connection road will also increase local opportunities. This increase will raise the appeal of the Gold Coast for those wishing to take advantage of employment opportunities in the state’s capital while experiencing everything the laid-back Gold Coast lifestyle has to offer.
What problems does the Coomera Connector solve?
The Gold Coast population is growing at an exponential rate. The Coomera Connector provides another layer to an already multidimensional transport system on the coast. The project will provide alternative crossings for transport travelling across the Nerang, Logan, Coomera and Albert rivers.
Benefits of the Coomera Connector
Construction of the first stage of the Coomera Connector will start at the most southern end of the road from Coomera to Nerang. The following benefits have been identified:
Support local businesses
The connection road will allow easier access to commercial entities in Coomera and neighbouring suburbs of Helensvale and Oxenford. This access will support the growth of local businesses currently not accessible from the highway.
Increase employment opportunities
The first stage of the Coomera Connector is expected to cost $1.5 billion. While specific time frames have not yet been identified, the project will increase construction employment and income for local businesses on the Gold Coast and neighbouring areas.
Provide more options for commuters
Whether you’re travelling north to Brisbane for work or exploring the sites on your doorstep, the Coomera Connector will provide more choices for anyone who needs to travel. The highway system is set to buckle under the pressure of the predicted population increase and more options on the multilayered transport system are desperately required.
It’s expected that up to 60,000 vehicles a day will use the Coomera Connector for shorter, local trips thus reducing the volume of traffic on the major highway.
With traffic congestion set to worsen into the future, the option for local traffic to leave the M1 and travel via the connector road will give more space to Brisbane bound traffic helping to create a free-flowing commute.
An alternative route for traffic between Coomera and Nerang means less transport on the roads during peak hour and throughout the day. The sheer reduced volume of traffic will reduce accidents making the M1 road safer for those who have no choice but to use the highway for their journey.
Who funds the Coomera Connector?
The Coomera Connector will be jointly funded by the Queensland and Australian governments. So far, $20 million has been committed for the planning of the Nerang to Loganholme corridor which is expected to reduce the number of vehicles travelling on the M1 by up to 60,000 vehicles a day.
Key stakeholders have been consulted at every step of the planning stages to garner public and professional community option. Stakeholders include:
- Federal, state and local government members
- Jabree Ltd, Native Title Group and the Danggan Balun People (in accordance with the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act, 2003)
- Coomera Conservation Group
- Fecki Environment Council
- Nerang Neighbourhood Association
- Carrara Floodplain Neighbourhood Association
- Wildlife Queensland
- Palm Lakes Resort Group
Community groups showed a general level of support for the project that is helping to ease congestion and develop the transport infrastructure in the region.
Approximately a quarter of all local residents and businesses said they had no concerns or expressed no negative points about the Coomera Connector being constructed.
The Coomera Connector is a significant project designed to upgrade transport infrastructure to make services more accessible for Gold Coast travellers and commuters to Brisbane.
For more information and status updates, visit the Department of Transport and Main Roads website: tmr.qld.gov.au/…rojects/coomera-connector
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