Jul 6, 2009

Works begin on future Gold Coast transport hub connection

Works begin on future Gold Coast transport hub connection

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

July 6 2009

The Federal and State governments today turned the first sod to mark the start of construction on the $80 million Varsity Lakes Interchange (Exit 85) upgrade on the Pacific Motorway (M1).

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese and Queensland Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace said the jointly funded project honoured the governments’ $910 million commitment to upgrade the Pacific Motorway.

“The Varsity Lakes Interchange is one of the busiest on the Gold Coast so this project will help improve travel times and ease congestion. It will also help to reduce queuing on the Motorway through Reedy Creek,” Mr Albanese said.

“The Rudd Labor Government, in partnership with the Bligh Labor Government, is determined to deliver this road project as quickly as possible.

“The upgrade of the Pacific Motorway is what the Rudd Labor Government’s Nation Building for Recovery strategy is all about. It is putting Queenslanders to work building the road infrastructure vital to our nation’s long term economic prosperity.

“All up, the Rudd Labor Government is investing an unprecedented $8.6 billion over six years to further improve Queensland’s road and rail networks.”

Probuild Civil (Qld) Pty Ltd was awarded the construction contract for this project in early June and I am pleased the upgrade is now underway.

Mr Wallace said that with Gold Coast City’s population growing rapidly, the interchange upgrade was part of an overarching transport solution, which included the new Varsity Lakes station, to meet the Coast’s future transport needs.

“Safety and travel times will be improved for motorists, and there will be better connectivity to the new Varsity Lakes rail station, which is due to open in late 2009,” Mr Wallace said.

“This new public transport infrastructure includes a new eco-friendly station at Varsity Lakes along with 300 commuter car parks,”

“It is among the largest infrastructure investment projects currently underway in Queensland, and it will sustain about 183 direct and indirect jobs over the life of the project.

“The new Varsity Station Village will also create many other new employment opportunities in the area,

“These projects are great examples of the State and Federal governments, and Gold Coast City Council working together to achieve a master plan,”

Member for Burleigh Christine Smith said the local community would also benefit from the upgrade.

“A pedestrian and cycle path will be built by widening the existing road bridge,” Ms Smith said.

“This will provide safe access across the motorway for local schools and community members.”

Mr Wallace said the Federal Government had approved $40 million for the project, matching the Bligh Government’s contribution and bringing the total funding to $80 million.

“The upgrade is part of the State and Federal governments’ $420 million commitment to upgrade interchanges between Nerang and Varsity Lakes, which includes improvements at the Nerang South, Mudgeeraba, Worongary and Coomera Interchanges and widening the motorway between Nerang and Worongary,” Mr Wallace said.

“Work starting on this interchange is great news for the people of the Gold Coast and it’s expected to be completed in early 2011.”

Work on the $45 million Nerang South Interchange (Exit 73) upgrade began in February 2008 and is expected to be finished in September, weather permitting.

The Mudgeeraba Interchange (Exit 79) upgrade started in February this year and is due for completion in mid 2010.