Nov 5, 2009

Cairns transport options released for community consultation

Cairns transport options released for community consultation

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

November 5 2009

The Rudd and Bligh Labor Governments have today released three options for community consultation on addressing the future road and public transport needs of the Cairns region.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese said it was important that Cairns had an integrated road and public transport network that would meet the needs of this growing region.

"Today, we are putting forward options for community consultation on how we can best address the region’s future road and public transport needs.

"The Rudd Government is investing $150 million to upgrade priority sections of the Bruce Highway between Sheehy Road and Ray Jones Drive in Cairns.

"As part of that consultation with Cairns residents, we are also seeking community views on different design options to help inform the scope of work to be undertaken as part of the Sheehy Road to Ray Jones Drive upgrade.

"We are putting forward to the community three draft options for the future upgrade of the southern approach to Cairns, as well as the draft Concept Design Report and alignment plans for the Cairns Transit Network.

"The Rudd Labor Government is working in partnership with the Queensland Government to deliver better transport options to the people of Far North Queensland," Mr Albanese said

Mr Wallace said the three draft design options for the highway between Wrights Creek and Draper Street each included options for the future provision for buses, motor vehicles, the rail corridor, and pedestrian and cycle access.

"This is all about having an integrated approach to the road and transport needs for the Cairns community – a master plan to drive future transport infrastructure in the region," Mr Wallace said.

"The planning study has looked at traffic movements and used traffic modelling to replicate current travel patterns and predict future traffic movements based on forecast population growth.

"With the upgrade of the highway’s southern approach into Cairns, we are looking at a series of interchanges and overpasses to improve traffic flow and safety for motorists.

"Community feedback has helped shape the three draft design options for the upgrade of the southern approach to Cairns and we’re seeking the opinions of the local community on these options.

"In our last round of consultation in late 2008, the people of Cairns told us what they wanted for their southern access corridor and we have listened carefully to those comments.

"It is important to remember that a preferred option has not yet been identified and the final solution could be a combination of all three. This will be determined from local residents’ feedback."

Ms Nolan said the Cairns Transit Network project would change the way people travelled on public transport in Cairns.

"The project is about identifying the most suitable option now, in order to provide the best public transport infrastructure solution in the future," she said.

"We are planning for a fast, reliable and sustainable public transport system that will connect the major communities in Cairns, from Palm Cove to Gordonvale, via Redlynch and all the neighbourhoods in-between.

"The Cairns Transit Network will create a new, purpose-designed network for urban public transport to support the vision of ‘transit oriented communities’ as outlined in the Far North Queensland Regional Plan 2009-2031.

"The network is designed to be initially serviced by bus rapid transit with the flexibility to convert to other technologies, such as light rail, in the future if required.

"The draft Concept Design Report and alignment plans show in detail where the network may potentially travel. The draft plans show the proposed treatment options which will include a combination of a future dedicated busway, bus/transit lanes, and other bus priority measures."

Ms Nolan said a project newsletter detailing each of the options and information on the concept design of the Cairns Transit Network and Cairns Bruce Highway Upgrade would be delivered to each household between Palm Cove and Gordonvale during November.

"The newsletter will provide residents with more information on our balanced transport solution for Cairns, as well as containing a feedback form and dates and venues for future information sessions," she said.

The sessions will be held across Cairns from 21 November through to 3 December and the Cairns community is encouraged to come along and view the draft plans and options and provide any comments.

"We’re seeking your feedback on these plans, as well as where the bus stations are located and how to provide safe pedestrian and cycle access to stations," Ms Nolan said.

"The future, new-look Cairns city bus station will also be available for comment, featuring a proposal to re-design City Place to improve bus efficiency."

To find out more please phone 1800 184 317 * freecall Australia-wide (except from mobiles), email the project team on: [email protected] or visit www.tmr.qld.gov.au (search for Cairns Transit Network or Cairns Bruce Highway Upgrade project).