Artist impression of Coomera Connector at Coomera. Picture: TMR
Artist impression of Coomera Connector at Coomera. Picture: TMR

This might be the M1 alternative

An independent survey of Gold Coast residents and businesses has shown overwhelming support for the Coomera Connector.

At the same time, a jointly funded business case is underway.

More than 210,000 vehicles use the M1 around the Coomera River on its busiest days, and a significant portion is local traffic accessing the Gold Coast’s northern suburbs.

Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said Gold Coast residents had backed the plan to get the Coomera Connector underway.

“This project will be critical to supporting growth on the Gold Coast in the years to come and it’s great to see this level of community support for it,” Mr Tudge said.

“It’s crucial we make headway on infrastructure across southeast Queensland as we come out of the COVID pandemic.”

Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said four out of five people who answered the independent survey last November backed the M1 alternative.

“This was an independent survey of 1,000 residents and businesses spread out between Loganholme and Coolangatta,” Mr Bailey said.

“I’d like to thank everyone who provided input into the planning of this city-shaping project.”

Federal Member for Fadden Stuart Robert said the M1 is Queensland’s busiest road, which is why looking at alternative options, including building an alternative north-south arterial road is a major priority for the Gold Coast.

“The resounding message from many people was ‘get on with it’ and that’s what we’re doing,” Mr Robert said.

“Developing the business case is the next step required to put forward the case for the Coomera Connector to be a national infrastructure priority.”

Federal Member for Forde Bert van Manen said residents also provided valuable feedback on potential issues including noise, environmental impacts and property resumptions, which will be carefully addressed before construction starts.

“Further community consultation on environmental aspects of Stage 1 of the Coomera Connector between Coomera and Nerang is underway and will give residents an opportunity to share their views,” Mr van Manen said.

“We look forward to providing more updates about that as the project progresses.”

State Member for Gaven Meaghan Scanlon said more than 2,000 people attended a series of community drop-in sessions run in late 2019 and more than 700 individual pieces of feedback were also received.

“Eighty per cent of those surveyed supported the Coomera Connector overall and 76 per cent supported the priority Stage 1 section between Coomera and Nerang,” Ms Scanlon said.

“One of the largest aerial traffic mapping exercises ever seen on the Gold Coast has also been conducted as part of the early planning stages for this project.

“It involved about 700 cameras and five drones covering 42 kilometres of motorway between Loganholme and Nerang, as well as the supporting road network.”

The Queensland Government recently completed 18 months of field investigations along the project corridor.

Those environmental studies in relation to Stage 1 of the proposed route between Nerang and Coomera have been passed on to the Australian Government for review.

Referral under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 for an independent review of the environmental studies that have been done to date is a key part of the business case development.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is currently running community consultation and the community is encouraged to get involved.

The Stage 1 Coomera Connector project EPBC referral is open for public comment until 16 June 2020.

To view and comment on the Stage 1 Coomera Connector project EPBC referral, visit the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website.

The community consultation report and animated concepts for stage one of the proposed route between Nerang and Coomera are available at www.tmr.qld.gov.au/coomeraconnector

The $20 million Coomera Connector planning project is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments on a 50:50 basis.

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