The government of Queensland in Australia has commenced major work on the A$420m ($321m) stage two of a 7.3km extension of the Gold Coast Light-Rail.
The extension is expected to be in operation in early 2018. According to urban infrastructure federal minister Paul Fletcher, the project will enable public transport users to have a one-transfer journey from Brisbane to the Gold Coast, with the option of halting at any of the 19 light-rail stations on the way.
Fletcher said: “This project will be vital to the success of the Commonwealth Games, with visitors and spectators expected to generate strong demand for public transport.
“But it will of course deliver continuing benefits following the games, offering light-rail connectivity between key Gold Coast locations and connecting to the heavy rail network at Helensvale.
“This will bring benefits for many years, as the transport task expands in line with expected population and economic growth on the Gold Coast.”
The project will also provide bus connections at major activity centres between Helensvale and Broadbeach in Queensland.
The new light-rail connection and duplication of the heavy-rail line running from Helensvale to Coomera will also help boost the local economy, stated Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate.
Throughout the work, the stage two project will help create up to 1,000 direct and indirect job opportunities, strengthening both the construction, tourism, and other Gold Coast industries.
This extension will see three new light-rail stations at Parkwood East, Parkwood, and Helensvale, as well as an addition of 1400 park‘n’ride car parking spaces at Helensvale and Parkwood stations.
Of the total A$420m ($321m), A$270m ($206m) will be provided by the Queensland Government, A$95m ($72m) by the Australian Government, and up to A$55m ($42m) by the city of Gold Coast.
Image: Helensvale Station in Queensland, Australia. Photo: courtesy of Queensland Government.