I like the light rail or “tram”, if you prefer. It’s quick and quiet and so convenient – if you live in Broadbeach to Surfers Paradise. But because I live in Burleigh Waters and work in Burleigh Heads, the light rail isn’t something I use everyday, or ever, really.
So the news that the light rail is coming to Burleigh is exciting – taking the tram to the office, shopping at Pac Fair, trips to Surfers with the kids on the weekend, even out for dinner on a Friday or Saturday night…
So what’s happening, where is it going, when will it be operational and how can I have my say?
Broadbeach to GCUH (In Operation)
The initial stage of the light rail has been a success with over 21,000 passengers a day using 16 stations over the 13 kilometre line from Broadbeach to Southport at the Gold Coast University Hospital.
Stage 2: GCUH to Helensvale (Opening early 2018)
Stage 2 is a 7.3 kilometre extension from the Gold Coast University Hospital to Helensvale railway station along the Smith Street Motorway with stations at Parkwood East and Parkwood. Helensvale railway will become the new northern terminus offering interchange between trains, trams and buses allowing a one-transfer journey between the Gold Coast and central Brisbane.
Stage 3A: Broadbeach to Burleigh Heads (In Planning)
The Gold Coast City Council is planning a 7 kilometre dual track extension to Burleigh Heads with 7 new stations and an upgraded bus interchange facility at Burleigh Heads.
The route will come south down the centre of the Gold Coast Highway all the way to Burleigh Heads leaving four traffic lanes, two in each direction. There will be about seven stations located about 700 to 1,100 metres apart.
Burleigh Heads Station – The Options
There are two options for Burleigh Heads station.
Option A located the Burleigh Heads station in the centre median of the Gold Coast Highway just before Connor Street less than 100 metres to Burleigh beach and the James Street retail precinct.
The second option deviates the track off the Gold Coast Highway onto Connor Street and into Park Avenue where the station development would include redevelopment of the library and existing community facilities.
The preliminary business case will be completed in 2017 with the detailed business case due for completion in 2018. Subject to funding construction is likely to start in 2020-2021 with the extension operational in 2023. Stage 3B is an extension to Coolangatta via the Airport.
Option A is by far the best option. Following the Gold Coast Highway seems to be the best way to bring the light rail through Burleigh with a minimum of disruption and congestion. Deviating into Connor Street will require substantial alterations to the Connor St/GC Highway and Connor St/Park St intersections, destroy the streetscape of Connor Street and create significant congestion around Connor. James and Park Streets. It will also negatively impact a lot of businesses on Connor Street and lower James Street, affect parking and generally reduce the amenity of the area.
Have Your Say!
You can find out more at gchaveyoursay.com.au/lightrailtoburleigh, read the Gold Coast Light Rail newsletter and view detailed plans of the station options. Complete the survey at the bottom of the page to let the City of Gold Coast know what you think. Community consultation ends 23 June 2017.
Which option do you prefer, and why? Leave your comment below.
(G-link image courtesy of KDR Gold Coast Pty Ltd)