BRISBANE: “Congestion-busting” road works are set to begin on the M1 Pacific Motorway in earnest following a major boost in funds from the federal government.
Following a federal contribution of $225 million, announced by Urban Development Minister, Paul Fletcher, the much-needed motorway improvements are set to ramp-up in coming weeks with an expected delivery date in early 2020.
“The M1 Corridor between Brisbane and the Gold Coast is obviously enormously important. It is absolutely a vital and extremely busy transport artery and I’m very pleased that work is now underway commencing today on these two projects,” Mr Fletcher said.
Claiming it a great day for the M1, Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, praised the contribution from the federal government, even though it was not the 80-20 funding split he was looking for.
“I absolutely think today is a sign of absolute success for M1 motorists. Neither one of us got exactly what we wanted, but we both recognised that we’ve got to get on with it,” Mr Bailey told reporters on April 19.
Two sections of the notoriously busy motorway will see reduced speed limits come into force again during construction which will include additional lanes, new or upgrades bridges, entry and exit ramp upgrades and new overpasses.
So, what is being planned for the critically important Brisbane to Gold Coast link and when is it all expected to be completed? We have all the latest information here at The Mathieson Edition.
Pacific Motorway and Gateway Merge – Eight Mile Plains to Springwood
Anyone who drives southbound along the M1 and Gateway motorway know only too well the congestion experienced at one of the busiest merges in Brisbane. The ill-planned and constructed roadway will see an extension of the Gateway merge lanes up until Springwood, fixing a problem which was identified almost from day one.
Reaching operational capacity on a daily basis, the expected $196 million upgrade will also include the removal of the busway motorway entry from Eight Mile Plains with a new onramp constructed towards Springwood, along with the replacement of the Underwood Road overpass.
“150,000 movements a day go through the Gateway Merge, and that upgrade will see up to five lanes, southbound lanes, much better bus connection through there, so the Gateway Merge will also be of tremendous interest to every M1 motorist,” said Mr Bailey.
With the southbound approach to the merge increasing from two lanes to three, issues plaguing the daily journey for thousands of commuters should ease with traffic expected to flow more freely, instead of the common gridlock which effects motorists.
Mudgeeraba to Varsity Lakes
Another section of the popular motorway with an estimated 80,000 vehicle movements per day, the Mudgeeraba to Varsity Lakes improvements – from exit 79 to 85 – will provide extra capacity with extended on ramps and an increase from two to three lanes in each direction.
Daily issues also hamper southbound motorists near exit 79 as the road merges from three lanes to two causing a bottleneck. With the works removing the lane reduction, a smoother flow of traffic is expected with quicker trips to the Gold Coast and Tweed a sign of relief for locals and visitors.
Also planned in the upgrades is bridge and overpass replacements at Varsity Lakes, reconstructing the Mudgeeraba Creek and Mudgeeraba Creek overflow bridges and a new bridge at Stapley Drive.
The expected $180 million, 5.7km upgrade project will also modernise the motorway to meet new international standards with wider breakdown lanes and extensions to on and off ramp lanes.
Motorist are being urged to take care in the construction areas with speed reductions and lane closures expected to take place during the works. Minister Bailey has also suggested that people wishing to travel through the areas look at social media posts to get the most up to date notifications of potential delays and diversions.
“There’ll be some reduced speed zones, for safety reasons, so I want to thank motorists for their patience when it comes to the work zones. There’ll be different restrictions at different times. You’re just going to have to look out for it. We’ll also be doing all of our communications there around social media, and so keep your eye out,” Mr bailey sad.
A further $1 billion has been allocated by the federal government for the next phase of upgrades to the M1 Pacific Motorway and are expected to begin in 2020, following the completion of the works above.
With Anastasia Palaszczuk declaring her vision for the motorway at the last election to be three lanes ‘from Brisbane to the border’, it is expected that the Queensland government will announce further funding for future projects once tenders are awarded and planning completed.
After years of bickering between the state and federal governments, it is a welcome sign to see the major construction begin this week.
There are fears that the works at the Gateway merge are just pushing the congestion further down the motorway, and therefore a solution has not been reached. However, with future works expected to address these problems, there is indeed a brighter future down the road.
Written by Joshua Mathieson