QLD Government still deciding on next route for Gold Coast Light Rail

The Queensland Government has confirmed the Department of Transport and Main Roads have not decided on a route for Stage 3B of the Gold Coast light rail that could potentially pass through Palm Beach.

The QLD Government’s current focus is Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3A project which is listed as a priority project on the National Infrastructure Priority List.

A spokesperson from QLD Government ministerial office said the Gold Coast City Council are currently undertaking community consultation relating to the next stage of light rail that could potentially pass through Palm Beach to Coolangatta airport, known as Stage 3B of the project.

Land resumptions are currently not occurring in the proposed locations the spokesperson said.

“Some residents in Palm Beach believe a future decision to build light rail through their community would give council the impetus to support high rise buildings, like further north on the Gold Coast, however this decision won’t be made for some time,” he said.

“The next stage is to announce the construction contract in the first half of 2020 and start work at some stage this year.”

GoldlinQ, who currently operates the light rail, have started conducting the expressions of interest process and an industry briefing in December.

GoldlinQ Chairman John Witheriff said the competitive tender process for design and construction would start with interest being sought from leading national and international companies.

“A shortlist of selected contractors will be determined early this year with a detailed tender process to follow, allowing a construction partner to be appointed and major works to start in the second half of 2020,” Witheriff said.

$709 million in funding was locked in by the federal government in late November last year.

This follows the Morrison Government’s increased investment by $157 million, and the state government’s $351 million and council’s $92 million spend on the project.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the additional commitment brought the federal contribution to the project to $269 million.

Stage 3A will extend light rail 6.7 kilometres south from Broadbeach South to Burleigh Heads, with eight new light rail stops.

The Gold Coast City Council stated in a preliminary business case report that Stage 3A will bring $1.2 billion economic benefits to the region.

Mayor of the City of Gold Coast Tom Tate said he looked forward to Stage 3A now progressing toward construction – supporting approximately 760 jobs during construction.

“We hope to get shovels in the ground in the near future on this crucial project for residents and visitors to the Gold Coast alike, with construction likely to take about two years to complete once underway in 2020,” Tate said.

The Australian Government partnered with the Queensland Government and the City of Gold Coast to jointly fund and deliver Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the Gold Coast Light Rail project.

Construction of Stage 3A is likely to run until 2023.