Gold Coast light rail plans continue to grow

The Gold Coast light rail Stage 4 plans are moving through the planning process again, after being stalled for some time. New plans are under discussion to link the Gold Coast Light Rail through to the airport and to create a new pedestrian “ocean way” along Palm Beach. The link will extend along a 13-kilomete stretch of the Gold Coast Highway from Burleigh Heads to Coolangatta, in a development hotspot for residential apartments.

The news comes as the local council and the Queensland state government announce that they are creating a business case for the project, hoping to highlight how the $7 million joint venture will give a boost to the local economy. The state government also conducted community consultation on transport in the region. This revealed a number of aspects residents would like to see, including a beach-side path, wildlife bridge at Burleigh Heads and the urban renewal of Palm Beach Avenue incorporating the tram line.

Artist's impressions of the new oceanway
Artist’s impressions of the new “ocean way” and light rail

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the government planned to support the economy by making a number of major transport investments in the region.

“At the heart of that plan is a $50 billion guarantee to invest in large infrastructure projects that will support and sustain jobs for Queenslanders for years to come,” Palaszczuk said. “We’re already doing that on the Gold Coast with the $1 billion M1 upgrade between Varsity Lakes to Tugun under way now.”

The contract for the Broadbeach to Burleigh rail link is expected to be awarded soon. Once Stage 3 is finalised council hopes to immediately break ground on Stage 4. Stage 4 has so far been a highly contentious section of the light rail project, with political parties weighing in on how the project should proceed.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said it had been decided to keep the light rail closer to the beach as the heavy rail would run near the Pacific Motorway.

“The community understands the importance of preserving the option of future heavy rail to the airport, with 87 per cent of people in this survey backing that option,” Bailey said. “We’re planning for a future light rail extension that actually takes locals and tourists where they want to go—to the beach, dining and retail centres and beachside accommodation, as well as connecting them to the airport.”

There are a few new developments that are also expected to go up in the area surrounding the new light rail link. This includes new apartment buildings and student accommodation.

Written: 11 November 2020, Updated: 2 November 2020

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