Gold Coast Highway—Burleigh Heads to Tugun Multi-modal Corridor Study

We have undertaken the Gold Coast Multi-modal Corridor Study  between Burleigh Heads and Tugun on the Gold Coast to review all previous planning and develop an updated transport strategy for this corridor.

The study considered all transport modes to determine the preferred function of the Gold Coast Highway for the next 20 years.

The study found the Gold Coast Highway between Burleigh Heads to Tugun could be transformed into a high amenity community focused boulevard with priority given to walking, bike riding and a world class light rail system that enhances the liveability and character of the southern coastal suburbs.

The study concluded a future southern extension of the light rail should follow the existing Gold Coast Highway alignment and that current property setbacks along the corridor are adequate for future requirements and property impacts will be limited.

Benefits

  • Contributes to regional growth
  • Contributes to economy
  • Improves network efficiency
  • Better active transport
  • Improves safety

Key features

  • Improved Palm Beach Avenue precinct 

There is the potential to provide alternatives for through traffic so the intersection of Palm Beach Avenue, Gold Coast Highway and Cypress Avenue can be transformed into a pedestrian friendly precinct with the opportunity for street front dining, shopping and urban renewal 

  • Improved connectivity to the M1 

The improved connectivity for northern Palm Beach to the M1 and its new service roads, through a widened M1 overpass at 19th Avenue proposed as part of the Pacific Motorway M1 Varsity Lakes Exit 85 to Tugun Exit 95 upgrade, would significantly improve accessibility to and from Palm Beach. 

  • Active transport 

There is the opportunity to provide new dedicated bridge crossings for bikes and pedestrians across Tallebudgera and Currumbin Creeks. 

  • Oceanway 

There is the opportunity to develop a beachfront Oceanway path along the full length of Palm Beach to provide high standard cycling and walking tracks.  

  • Toolona Street 

Associated projects could improve the safety and efficiency of the Gold Coast Highway and Toolona Street intersection by providing alternative access points and reducing the number of traffic movements. 

  • Burleigh Heads National Park 

The existing Burleigh Heads National Park would be preserved, and access improved to the southern entrance via active travel, light rail, bus and car options.  

  • Connectivity to Burleigh Ridge Park 

In order to help protect wildlife and to improve active transport and bushwalking connectivity between Burleigh Heads National Park and Burleigh Ridge Park, a land bridge could be provided, protecting biodiversity by reconnecting ecological corridors.  

Download and read the Gold Coast Highway (Burleigh Heads to Tugun) Multi-modal Corridor Study Executive Summary.

Funding

This project is funded by the Queensland Government with $1.4 million committed to undertake the transport planning study. Any funding decision to implement the findings of this study would be the subject of a feasibility study and a business case. $7 million (joint State and council funding) has been committed to commence a preliminary business case for light rail planning including future east-west bus connections.

Current status

Planning for the future of the transport network is critical to achieving local (Gold Coast City Transport Strategy 2031), state (the Queensland Government’s Shaping SEQ Regional Plan and Regional Transport Plan) and federal (the Australian Government’s Smart Cities Plan) planning targets and policies.

We have approved corridor planning for the upgrade of the Gold Coast Highway through Palm Beach. Since 2003, we have been protecting the corridor against encroachment of development by conditioning building setbacks to allow for a future upgrade. Much of the corridor is protected under this scheme. 

The Gold Coast Highway (Burleigh Heads to Tugun) Multi-modal Corridor Study has investigated whether existing planning will be adequate to accommodate the objectives of Shaping SEQ and the Gold Coast City Transport Strategy 2031 while balancing other considerations including current and future transport demands and the benefits and capacity gained from the fully-funded M1 (Varsity Lakes to Tugun) upgrade.

Read the project newsletter for more information about the study.

Community consultation on the findings from the Study was undertaken in March/April 2020. Read the community consultation report for more information.

Study findings

Location 

The Gold Coast Highway route was found to be the most direct and fastest of the corridors investigated. It also has the greatest potential for mode shift to public transport as it is close to where people already live; follows the alignment of the existing frequent trunk bus route (700); and provides the potential to transform the Gold Coast Highway into the Gold Coast Boulevard through careful design and treatment.

Extending the light rail down the Gold Coast Highway also means the heavy rail corridor adjacent to the Pacific Motorway (M1) will remain protected for a future extension of the heavy rail which is intended to fulfil a longer distance regional transport function.

Buses 

Buses currently play a very important role in the movement of people along and beyond the Gold Coast Highway corridor to a variety of destinations.  Consistent with the approach adopted in the previous stages of the light rail, some bus routes will be shortened or replaced (such as the current route 700 and 777 buses along the Gold Coast Highway), while other services would be maintained and potentially enhanced to offer better connectivity overall. The study identified the need for buses to continue to connect communities to the west of the Gold Coast Highway to key centres and interchanges with light rail. Connections between bus and light rail will be designed to be safe, convenient and accessible. Further work between us, TransLink and City of Gold Coast will confirm the design of transport interchanges and the network of services that use them align with their future planning.

Property impacts

We have been protecting the corridor for future upgrades including conditioning setbacks as part of the development process. Setbacks are the distance between the kerb and a building and are intended to be wide enough to accommodate a corridor that allows for pedestrian paths, landscaping, traffic lanes and light rail.

The study confirmed the current planning is generally adequate for future requirements; however, it will need further refinement as the level of design becomes more detailed. 

Traffic analysis

We completed a detailed traffic analysis process to determine the number of traffic lanes, intersection configuration and performance of the Gold Coast Highway now and into the future. The analysis confirmed that the nearby M1 (Varsity Lakes to Tugun) upgrade will perform a critical transport function on the southern Gold Coast to:

  • accommodate a significant increase in vehicle demands including both local demands on service roads and regional demands on the motorway itself
  • improve local connections to the M1 and service roads including a new connection between the M1 and 19th Avenue. 

This significant increase in capacity will be a viable alternative for through-traffic, reducing demand on the Gold Coast Highway. This provides an opportunity to redesign the Gold Coast Highway as a more multi-modal and pedestrian-friendly corridor.  

Through carefully analysing travel demands and traffic movements through the network, the study identified that some sections of the Gold Coast Highway could reduce from 4 lanes to 2 lanes in parts of Palm Beach and Currumbin without negatively impacting travel time and traffic capacity. This will involve reviewing the number of intersections and relocating some right turns to ensure traffic flow and property access is maintained without significant additional property resumptions. We are exploring these options with the local community through consultation.