Coomera Connector (Stage 1)

The Stage 1 section of the Coomera Connector between Coomera and Nerang has been identified as the priority section to be built first.

By constructing additional crossings of the Coomera and Nerang rivers, Stage 1 of the Coomera Connector will reduce pressure on the M1 by providing an alternative route for the growing communities and commercial hubs of Helensvale and Coomera.

Following community consultation in 2020, the northern end point for Coomera Connector (Stage 1) is confirmed as Shipper Drive, Coomera.

The corridor is wide enough for an ultimate 6-lane motorway. The 16km Stage 1 route will be built to 4 lanes to meet medium-term traffic needs. Key major structures will be future-proofed to 6 lanes, to help minimise future construction impacts to adjacent residents and the travelling public.

Coomera Connector (Stage 1) is around 16km, and will be delivered in 3 construction packages:

  • Stage 1 North: Shipper Drive, Coomera to Helensvale Road, Helensvale
  • Stage 1 Central: Helensvale Road, Helensvale to Smith Street Motorway, Molendinar
  • Stage 1 South: Smith Street Motorway, Molendinar to Nerang-Broadbeach Road, Nerang.

Benefits

  • Improves safety
  • Increases capacity
  • Improves network efficiency
  • Increases traffic flow
  • Reduces peak hour congestion
  • Reduces interchange queuing
  • Reduces travel time
  • Contributes to economy
  • Better active transport

Key features

  • Relieve pressure on the M1 by providing an alternative route for local traffic and additional crossings of the Coomera and Nerang rivers.
  • Provide improved connections and accessibility to more transport options on the northern Gold Coast.
  • Improve and provide more reliable travel times between Brisbane and the Gold Coast by reducing the number of local trips on the M1.
  • Increase safety on the M1 by reducing congestion and potential queuing at interchanges.

Funding

The Australian Government and Queensland Government have committed a total of $2.16 billion (on a 50:50 basis) to plan and construct Coomera Connector Stage 1 (Second M1) between Coomera and Nerang. Investment ID 1776678

Total investment
$2.16 billion
Australian Government
$1.08 billion
Queensland Government
$1.08 billion

Current status

Early works are now underway for Stage 1 North and will continue until late 2022 (weather and site conditions permitting).

Key milestones

  • Mid-2021: Stage 1 North and Stage 1 Central geotechnical investigations were ongoing throughout both packages.
  • September 2021: Stage 1 reference project and business case approved by Queensland Government.
  • November 2021:
    • Stage 1 North early works agreement awarded to complete the detailed design of this section
    • Stage 1 Central design and construct proposal released to industry for tenders.
  • 18 February 2022: Stage 1 reference project and business case approved by Infrastructure Australia.
  • Early 2022: Stage 1 Central competitive and confidential tender process underway.
  • Late 2022:
    • Public Environment Report released for public comment
    • Stage 1 North main road construction to start
    • Stage 1 Central design and construct contract award
    • Stage 1 South preliminary and detailed design to start.
  • 2023: Stage 1 Central main road construction to start.
  • Late 2024: Stage 1 is expected to progressively open to traffic in sections.

Coomera Connector (Stage 1) project map

Coomera Connector Stage 1 corridor map

Coomera Connector (Stage 1) animations

A series of animated concepts for Stage 1 has been developed to demonstrate what the Coomera Connector may look like when constructed in the ultimate 6-lane configuration. As the project has progressed through the reference design phase and consultation, some features have changed. View the 360 degree panoramas of Coomera Connector Stage 1.

  • Coomera

    Concept video showing what the planned Coomera Connector road may look like when constructed in the vicinity of the Coomera River, including an overpass at Hope Island Road.

  • Helensvale

    Concept video showing what the planned Coomera Connector road may look like when constructed in the vicinity of the Helensvale including how the new road is positioned in relation to the Helensvale transit hub.

  • Parkwood

    Concept video showing what the planned Coomera Connector road may look like when constructed in the vicinity of the Parkwood, including an overpass at the Smith Street Motorway near the Parkwood light rail station.

  • Nerang

    Concept video showing what the planned Coomera Connector road may look like when constructed at Nerang, including a new bridge over the Nerang River.

Latest news

29 August 2022: Business case summary for Stage 1

The business case for Coomera Connector (Stage 1) has now been approved by the Queensland Government and Infrastructure Australia with additional funding secured to cover increased costs resulting from a competitive building and construction market due to COVID-19, and higher material and labour costs being experienced throughout Australia.

The complete Stage 1 business case is more than 1000 pages and details the extensive investigations and data completed by numerous content-experts specific to their relevant fields. On that basis, the majority of the report is commercial-in-confidence.

Read the Stage 1 business case summary.

Download the Stage 1 business case summary.

View the Infrastructure Australia summary evaluation of the business case

22 April 2022: Two contractors shortlisted to develop design for Stage 1 Central

Two joint venture contractors have been selected to progress the preliminary design for Stage 1 Central, the longest and most complex section of the Coomera Connector Stage 1 corridor.

The successful proponents are:

  • Fulton Hogan, JF Hull and McIlwain Engineering (FHHMJV)
  • CPB and SEE Civil as Connect2Coast.

Both contractors will work separately on the same reference design for the Central package over the coming months, bringing the design to 30% completion.

FHHMJV and Connect2Coast will present their design options and commercial offer to the department in mid-2022. After a detailed tender assessment process, a Collaborative Project Agreement to finalise the design and construct the Central package is expected to be awarded in late 2022.

Community consultation

We performed initial community consultation on the 45-km Coomera Connector corridor in late 2019. Outcomes from this indicated that 80% of participants supported the Coomera Connector being built as soon as possible. It also showed that noise, landscape and the environment were key issues raised by those who live close to the Coomera Connector.

We held a second round of community consultation focusing on Stage 1 in September 2020. This consultation gave the community an added opportunity to have their say on key priorities for the project.

In addition to this, a Coomera Connector (Stage 1) Community Reference Group was established for the business case phase of the project. The purpose of the Community Reference Group was to gain community input from key resident, business and environmental stakeholders into negotiable aspects of the project.

As the business case is now finalised, the purpose, scope and objectives of the Community Reference Group is complete. Its input has been valuable in understanding community priorities and has been instrumental in guiding key urban design and environmental elements of the project.

The urban design elements explored by the Community Reference Group and identified as community priorities were:

  • design of noise barriers
  • design of retaining walls
  • landscaping and planting in and around the project corridor
  • design of a shared path for walking and bike riding.

A series of artist's impressions were developed, based on the ultimate 6-lane design, to show how these elements could look for Coomera Connector (Stage 1).

We requested feedback from the wider community on the artist's impressions in March 2021, and this feedback will be considered as the design progresses.

Download the Questions, Issues and Opportunities report from the Community Reference Group.

Access other historical publications for the Coomera Connector.

Road traffic and construction noise

TMR manages road traffic and construction noise based on the Transport Noise Management Code of Practice. The code of practice is the framework that TMR follows when determining appropriate measures to treat noise.

Volume 1 (2013) of the code addresses road traffic noise, while Volume 2 (2016) outlines how construction noise should be managed.

In addition to noise mitigation measures such as noise barriers, the type of road surface to be used on the Coomera Connector will also influence the level of road traffic noise experienced by residents who live close to the project corridor. There is a range of road surface types under consideration for the Coomera Connector including open graded asphalt and stone mastic asphalt, which are both quieter than the concrete road surface on the M1.

Further information on the type of noise treatments required for the Coomera Connector will be available as the design for each package progresses.

Environmentally sensitive design

To ensure the Coomera Connector is designed and delivered in an environmentally sensitive manner, we have been working with a range of subject matter experts and stakeholders.

Over the past 2 years, extensive surveys have been conducted along the Stage 1 corridor, including:

  • wildlife surveys to determine habitat values for native fauna, including koalas
  • flora surveys to determine the presence of protected plants
  • aquatic ecological surveys and water quality monitoring, including a 12-month survey within and adjacent to Coombabah Lake.

Environmental approvals are being progressed, with the Australian Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water currently assessing Stage 1 of the project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water also confirmed the Coomera Connector (Stage 1) to be a controlled action that will be assessed by a Public Environment Report. This report is expected to be available in late 2022.

Koala management plan

Recognising the significance of koala populations in the northern Gold Coast, we have developed a Koala Management Plan as part of our responsibilities to deliver Stage 1 of the Coomera Connector.

The Koala Management Plan will guide the design and implementation of a suite of measures to understand the current extent and health of the koala population in the vicinity of the Coomera Connector project area and ensures that koalas are appropriately protected during construction and operation. This approach ensures that we comply with relevant state and federal legal requirements and meet community expectations for the welfare and conservation of koalas in and around the corridor.

Conservation strategies forming the basis of the Koala Management Plan include:

  • undertaking monitoring and research to provide baseline data on koala populations
  • best practice fauna movement infrastructure to facilitate the movement of koalas in wildlife corridors
  • working with all levels of government to establish potential future koala habitat areas (local offsets) and maintain important wildlife corridors.

In August 2021, we engaged Endeavour Veterinary Ecology to undertake a koala tagging and monitoring program, and a Koala Stakeholder Reference Group and established a koala management program to share information on the progress of the program.

To ensure that impacts to habitat are addressed, the plan also includes the acquisition and rehabilitation of additional land to support local wildlife populations and to offset areas of habitat lost for the Coomera Connector.

The Koala Management Plan will be included in the Public Environment Report, which is expected to be released in late 2022.

Hope Island train station

The Cross River Rail Delivery Authority is continuing with planning of 3 new train stations on the Gold Coast Line, including a station at Hope Island.

The new Hope Island station is located adjacent to the Coomera Connector (Stage 1 North) corridor. Both the rail and road project teams are working closely together to minimise impacts to neighbouring residents and businesses.

Find out more about the new Hope Island station.

Helensvale Road vs Hope Island Road interchange

The final design has an interchange at Helensvale Road which was assessed from engineering and design perspectives as well as traffic modelling data. Investigations concluded that it is not feasible to provide an interchange at Hope Island Road for the following reasons:

  • A full system interchange with on and off ramps at Hope Island Road would require the Coomera Connector to move further east of the railway line and new Hope Island train station, resulting in significant residential and commercial property resumptions.
  • Providing on and off ramps with new bridge structures at Hope Island Road would cause substantial hydraulic impacts and potentially cause flooding in nearby properties where flooding is not currently an issue.

We are working closely with City of Gold Coast on the planning of the Coomera Connector and associated upgrades that may be required to the local road network, including Helensvale Road.