Gold Coast highway makeover receives a boost

The dream of a traffic-light free and flowing drive from Brisbane to Sydney is coming one step closer to reality with major road works in Queensland

Major construction has begun on stage one of the Queensland government’s flagship infrastructure project, the Coomera Connector, also known as the second M1.

The project is a 16-kilometre highway connection which the government says will remove up to 60,000 local trips a day from the M1 Pacific Motorway, south of Brisbane.

The first sod was turned at the construction site this week, marking the start of main construction on Stage 1 North, between Shipper Drive, Coomera and Helensvale Road, Helensvale.

The government says early works to prepare for construction have been ongoing since November 2021.

The announcement comes as the federal government approved the project’s Public Environment Report (PER), giving the green light for the project to progress to major construction.

The report sets out measures to reduce and mitigate the project’s impact on the environment, including offsetting and enhancing koala habitats at nearby properties in Pimpama and Tabooba.

The government says this Coomera Connector will change how Gold Coast residents get around and improve journeys between the growing Coomera and Nerang communities.

It will also mean more reliable travel times between Brisbane and the Gold Coast by alleviating congestion on the M1. 

Federal transport minister Catherine King says the highway will go a long way to fight congestion.

“The Coomera Connector is a boon for southeast Queenslanders – it means less time stuck in traffic and more time spent with loved ones enjoying Queensland’s great lifestyle,” King says.

“We know congestion is a significant issue for the region – it’s a drain on the economy and frustrating for families, which is why we’re getting on with delivering this critical piece of infrastructure.

“With major construction now underway, works will continue to ramp up over the coming months as this new motorway starts to come to life.”

A new, one-kilometre-long, Coomera River bridge crossing is a key feature of the first package, along with a four-metre-wide shared active transport path.

The first stage of the project will be delivered in three construction packages:

  • Stage 1 North: Shipper Drive, Coomera to Helensvale Road, Helensvale (now underway)
  • Stage 1 Central: Helensvale Road, Helensvale to Smith Street Motorway, Molendinar (expected to start later this year)
  • Stage 1 South: Smith Street Motorway, Molendinar to Nerang-Broadbeach Road, Nerang (in design).

The final design for Stage 1 North includes improvements made by contractor Acciona Georgiou Joint Venture (AGJV), such as to the location of the shared path’s rest area and upgrades to surrounding local roads at the interchanges.

Construction notices will be distributed as the project progresses, giving residents, motorists and boaties more detail on how and where work will be carried out.

The Second M1 will open progressively from 2025. 

The federal and Queensland governments have each committed $1.08 billion to the $2.16 billion to plan and build Coomera Connector Stage 1 between Coomera and Nerang.

It is estimated to support an average of 1,000 direct jobs over the life of the project. 

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the project is a solid investment in a fast growing region.

“This is a critical infrastructure project for the South East as the population of the Gold Coast continues to grow,” Palaszczuk says. 

“Our government’s support of the Coomera Connector is backing 1,000 local jobs, and a strong pipeline of investment in the region for years to come.

“As one of the fastest growing regions in the country, this vital road project will get Queenslanders home safer and sooner than ever before.

“This investment is on top of the more than $5.5 billion we’ve already jointly invested upgrading the M1 since 2015.” 

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