Building on the Queensland Government’s investment in ongoing infrastructure projects, the South East Queensland Council of Mayors has developed an ambitious transport plan to rid the southeast of the state of gridlock by the year 2041. The $60 billion dollar plan entails no fewer than 47 crucial projects concerning new road tunnels and fast rail. It is expected that $3.5 billion each year to 2031 will be needed to realise major elements of the plan.
The Brisbane Lord Mayor has emphasised that such planning cannot afford to be delayed. The predominant view is that the proposed infrastructure is essential to preserve and enhance quality of life in the region and to attract federal government funding. The area’s rapidly growing population is a prime cause of congestion problems. One of the possibilities suggested, along with other congestion-relieving projects is, for example, to build a second M1 so as to lessen the costly traffic jams currently causing such problems on major holiday weekends. The economic and social advantages of having fast rail contact between Brisbane and significant inland cities like Toowoomba have been part of such discussions, emphasising, for example, the prospects for job creation.
Faster rail lines linking Ipswich, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast to Brisbane are planned. Further, Ipswich and Toowoomba are to be connected via a corridor. These plans cost, in all, over $13 billion the date for completion of the first line to the Sunshine Coast is 2030 with 2039 for the final connection to Toowoomba. It will mean commuting times to the Sunshine Coast will be reduced to 45 minutes, to the Gold Coast 35 minutes and to Ipswich about 20 minutes. Pressure will thus be taken off the Pacific and Bruce highways and the rapidly growing communities of Moreton Bay, Logan and Ipswich supported.
A bypass of the choked Centenary Motorway is planned, involving a four lane tunnel linking the Sumner Road interchange to Toowong. It would run parallel to the motorway bypassing Jindalee’s Centenary Bridge. A tunnel running under the Brisbane River between Buranda and Toowong called the East-West Link is planned to allow motorists to bypass the city. A further tunnel running north-south is proposed to link Toowong to Everton Park from the Centenary Motorway.
Also part of the overall master plan is a $6.35 million northwest transport corridor between Bald Hills and Alderley. It includes an urban rail line and a four lane motorway. Additionally new Brisbane River crossings such as green bridges are considered.
When realised, the ambitious Queensland Council of Mayors’ plan which includes existing projects like Brisbane Metro and Cross River Rail, will make facilitate rapid commuting in Southeast Queensland and promote vital economic growth.