Northern areas of the Gold Coast are poised to make the most of two major road upgrades, which will make travel easier throughout the region. This will complement other high-profile transportation announcements that have already been made, suggesting the Gold Coast could soon become one of the most accessible cities in Queensland.
The City of Gold Coast has revealed that Santa Barbara Road will receive $2.4million of funding in a bid to ease congestion and give way to more environmentally friendly modes of transport. Meanwhile, the Helensvale Road project has been earmarked for $4.5million of support, which will be dedicated to widening travel lanes, creating more bus stops and encouraging the use of off-road pathways and cycle lanes.
Aside from increasing transport options, the local council also imagines these changes will improve road safety. This will have positive knock-on effects for those who choose to lease commercial property in the surrounding areas, not least because they can have greater confidence in nearby connections.
Cameron Caldwell, division three councillor, explained that the expanding population of Hope Island, Sanctuary Cove and nearby locations has made these improvements necessary. With more cars on the road, giving people an alternative – and safer – means of travelling from A to B can only have advantages.
"The key component in easing congestion is the additional lane to allow traffic to exit the busy precinct," Mr Caldwell continued.
"This is a notorious bottleneck because it is the only road in and out of Santa Barbara and Sanctuary Cove."
Members of the Gold Coast community have been keen to see improvements to local transport for some time, and it seems that the council may now be in a place to deliver them. As industrial leasing on the Gold Coast gathers pace, it will become even more important for workers and residents to be able to travel freely throughout the city.
There has also been demand for "more active travel infrastructure", explained Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate. This has been accommodated through widening pavements and cycle lanes, as well as giving greater clarity as to which modes of transport should be using which routes.
Marked bike lanes are now being provided along the road, while wider pavements will make it easier for people to reach their destination by foot.
Although roads undoubtedly play an important role in the Gold Coast's transportation mix, light rail is also proving its worth. It was announced shortly before Christmas that the second stage of the Gold Coast Light Rail project was getting underway, as tender documents were received from three bidders.
The 7.3-kilometre track will provide a link between Helensvale and the Gold Coast University Hospital, with construction expected to get underway late next year. Once in place, the desirability of office leasing on the Gold Coast could go up a level as accessibility is improved.
One of the highlights of this particular project is that it will use existing road and rail corridors, which should minimise its environmental impact. Looking ahead to the future environmental cost of transport changes is something many city councils are under increasing pressure to do.
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