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 now confirmed as Shipper Drive, Coomera. 

The corridor is wide enough for an ultimate 6-lane motorway, however based on transport demand modelling and available construction funding, fewer lanes may be built in some sections to meet medium-term needs.

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

  • Stage 1 North: Shipper drive, Coomera to Helensvale Road, Helensvale - early works construction started with site investigations in 2021.
  • Stage 1 Central: Helensvale Road, Helensvale to Smith Street Motorway, Molendinar - early works site investigations started in mid-2021 and construction timing to be confirmed. 
  • Stage 1 South: Smith Street Motorway, Molendinar to Nerang-Broadbeach Road, Nerang - early works site investigations and construction timing are to be confirmed. 
 

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 Logan, Albert, Coomera and Nerang rivers. 
  • Provide improved connections and accessibility to more transport options on the northern Gold Coast. 
  • Improve travel time 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.
  • Provide more reliable travel times between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. 
 

Funding

The Australian Government and Queensland Government have committed a total of $1.53 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
$1.53 billion
Australian Government
$765.25 million
Queensland Government
$765.25 million

Key milestones

  • Mid-2021: Geotechnical investigations have been ongoing throughout Stage 1 North.
  • Mid to late 2021: Stage 1 Reference design and business case considered by government; geotechnical investigations start on Stage 1 Central.
  • Late 2021 to early 2022: Public Environment Report released for public comment prior to federal environment approvals; Design and Construct contract awarded for Stage 1 North; Competitive Design and Construct tender process to start for Stage 1 Central.
  • Mid-2022: Main line construction to start on Stage 1 North.
  • Early 2023: Preliminary and Detailed Design to start on Stage 1 South.
  • Late 2024: Stage 1 is expected to progressively open to traffic in sections.

Coomera Connector (Stage 1) project map

  Coomera Connector Stage 1 construction packages map

Coomera Connector (Stage 1) animations

A series of animated concepts for Stage 1 have been developed to show 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.

Community consultation

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

A second round of community consultation focusing on Stage 1 was undertaken 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 are 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. 

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

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.

Residents located adjacent to the Coomera Connector corridor should familiarise themselves with both volumes to fully understand TMR’s obligations.

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, TMR has 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 federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment currently assessing Stage 1 of the project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment confirmed Coomera Connector Stage 1 to be a controlled action that will be assessed by a Public Environment Report.

Find out more about the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Koala management plan

Recognising the significance of koala populations in the northern Gold Coast, Professor Darryl Jones and the team from Griffith University were engaged to undertake monitoring of koala movement pathways near Coombabah Creek at Helensvale. 

Cameras, spotlighting surveys and scat sampling were used to detect all vertebrate species larger than a squirrel glider. A broad range of species were detected confirming the area as a key regional biodiversity corridor, including the Eastern Grey kangaroo, Swamp and Red-necked wallabies, common brushtail possums, squirrel gliders, reptiles, amphibians, birds and microbats. 

Recommendations from the study will feed into the design of Coomera Connector Stage 1 including the provision of structures to provide dry and safe walkways for koalas to cross under transport infrastructure in times of heavy rain when water can inundate the area.

To minimise potential vehicle strike risk of animals such as the Eastern Grey kangaroo, Griffith University has recommended that appropriate exclusion fencing and escape ramps be included in the design of the Coomera Connector near Coombabah Creek.

We are also working, in partnership with koala conservation specialists, to develop a koala management plan and environmental management plans to manage impacts on wildlife habitat in and around the project corridor. 

As part of this plan, we have engaged wildlife specialists to undertake a koala tagging and monitoring program to help protect koalas within the project footprint. A Stakeholder Reference Group will soon be established to share information on the progress of this program with key stakeholders including environmental specialists, community advocacy groups and other government agencies.

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

This plan will be included in the Public Environment Report and will be available for public review and comment once approved by the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

Hope Island 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.