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:
- 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
- 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.
The Australian and Queensland governments 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
Construction of Stage 1 North is now underway.
Detailed designs are now underway for Stage 1 Central and Stage 1 South.
- 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 the 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.
- August 2022: Design contract awarded for Stage 1 South.
- Late 2022:
- Public Environment Report released for public comment
- Stage 1 South preliminary and detailed design started.
- Early 2023:
- Environmental approvals granted
- Stage 1 North main road construction started
- Stage 1 Central design and construct contract award.
- Early 2024: Stage 1 Central main road construction to start.
- Late 2024: Stage 1 South main road construction to start.
- Late 2025: Stage 1 is expected to progressively open to traffic in sections.
Coomera Connector (Stage 1) project map
Coomera Connector (Stage 1) animations
A series of animated concepts for Stage 1 was 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 initial 360 degree panoramas of Coomera Connector Stage 1.
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.
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.
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.
Concept video showing what the planned Coomera Connector road may look like when constructed at Nerang, including a new bridge over the Nerang River.
Business case summary for Stage 1
The business case for Coomera Connector (Stage 1) was approved in September 2021 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.
The department 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).
The department requested feedback from the wider community on the artist's impressions in March 2021, and this feedback will be considered as the design 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 3 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.
The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water confirmed that Coomera Connector (Stage 1) was to be a controlled action to be assessed by a Public Environment Report under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The draft Public Environment Report was released for public review and comment from 11 October 2022 and feedback closed at 5pm on 15 November 2022.
The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water granted approval for Stage 1 of the project in March 2023.
View the federal government environmental approval for Coomera Connector Stage 1 on the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water website.
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 is included in the Public Environment Report.