Sunshine Motorway, Mooloolah River Interchange Upgrade (Stage 1)
The Sunshine Motorway, Mooloolah River Interchange Upgrade will deliver a safe, efficient, and effective transport network to meet the current and future transport needs of the Sunshine Coast.
A preliminary design layout has been developed for the project. It considers community feedback received during project planning, as well as a range of technical, design and on-site investigations undertaken over the last 18 months. The department thanks the community and key stakeholders for feedback and helping shape this significant infrastructure upgrade.
This project will provide new north-south connectivity between key residential, employment, health, and education facilities to support population, economic and tourism growth in one of Australia's fastest growing regions.
It is also the key to unlocking several significant road and rail projects in the region and is the trigger for major infrastructure transformation on the Sunshine Coast.
- Improves safety
- Improves network efficiency
- Better road access
- Reduces peak hour congestion
- Reduces travel time
- Contributes to economy
The first stage of this project will include a:
- new road overpass to provide a more direct and efficient connection from Nicklin Way to Brisbane Road at Mooloolaba
- new local road connection between Karawatha Drive at Mountain Creek and Brisbane Road at Mooloolaba
- new active transport provisions for pedestrians and bike riders, connecting Mountain Creek and Mooloolaba
- new signalised intersection linking Brisbane Road and the new connection to Karawatha Drive, and provision of a two-way service road.
These local road connections will separate local traffic from high-speed motorway traffic and reduce traffic weaving—a well-known issue at this interchange.
Future stages will deliver:
- a new crossing of the Mooloolah River, connecting the Sunshine Motorway to Kawana Way
- the Mooloolah River Interchange, with connections to:
- the Sunshine Motorway to the west and north
- Nicklin Way to the south-east
- Kawana Way to the south
- an upgrade of the Sunshine Motorway from 2 to 4 lanes between the existing Kawana Way Interchange and the Mooloolah River Interchange
- a direct, safe, and efficient connection for the Sunshine Motorway, north to west
- an additional northbound lane on the Sunshine Motorway between the Mooloolah River Interchange and the Buderim-Mooloolaba interchange
- new active transport provisions for pedestrian and bike riders, linking Parrearra, Mountain Creek and Mooloolaba
- a new signalised intersection linking the new crossing of the Mooloolah River with Kawana Way.
The Australian and Queensland governments jointly committed $320 million on a 50:50 (federal:state) basis to deliver Stage 1 of the project. Investment ID 2007574 Funding is required to progress future stages to construction.
- Total investment
- $320 million
- Australian Government
- $160 million
- Queensland Government
- $160 million
Mooloolah River Interchange Upgrade fly-through
The Australian and Queensland Governments have released a design layout for the entire Mooloolah River Interchange Upgrade project which is key to unlocking several significant road and public transport projects on the Sunshine Coast.
Due to the scale of the project, it will be delivered in stages
The first stage of works is funded for design and construction.
These works need to be delivered first to enable construction of the project’s future stages.
Stage 1 will separate local traffic from high-speed motorway traffic, reducing traffic weaving and improving safety.
Stage 1 will include:
- and a new road overpass to provide a more direct and efficient connection from Nicklin Way to Brisbane Road
- and a new local road connection between Karawatha Drive and Brisbane Road.
Funding is required to progress future stages to construction and will include:
- A new signalised intersection, linking Kawana Way with new crossings over the Mooloolah River.
- New active transport provisions will improve access and safety for pedestrians and bike riders.
- New crossings over the Mooloolah River will connect Kawana Way to the Sunshine Motorway and improve connectivity between southern growth areas and Maroochydore.
- A new Sunshine Motorway overpass will provide a continuous, high-speed connection for motorists travelling from north to west.
An additional northbound lane on the Sunshine Motorway will provide connectivity to the Buderim-Mooloolaba Interchange.
During future stages, the project will also upgrade the Sunshine Motorway from two to four lanes between the existing Kawana Way Interchange and the Mooloolah River Interchange.
Community feedback, along with a range of technical, design and on-site investigations, has helped shape this significant infrastructure upgrade.
Once complete, the MRI Upgrade project will provide new north-south connectivity between Maroochydore, Birtinya, Caloundra and southern growth areas, and will deliver a safe, efficient and effective network to meet the current and future transport needs of the Sunshine Coast.
Detailed design work is progressing and is expected to be completed in early 2024. Construction timeframes for Stage 1 will be determined during the design phase.
Early works for Stage 1 started in mid-May 2023. These will make the site construction ready and involve:
- property demolitions
- land preparation
- service relocations for electricity, water and telecommunications
- settlement of soft soils.
The first phase of early works is focused on the majority of property demolitions required for Stage 1 of the project. This phase is expected to take until late 2023 to complete, weather and site conditions permitting.
Works will be undertaken from Monday to Friday, between 7am and 5pm.
Every effort will be made to keep disruptions and noise to a minimum while the works are underway. The department apologises for any inconvenience and thanks community members in advance for their patience while these important works are carried out.
We will continue to update the community and stakeholders as the project progresses.
More than 250 items of feedback were received via the online engagement platform, email, post and phone during the consultation periods for the planning layout.
The department would like to thank everyone who had their say during the consultation periods. This valuable feedback has been reviewed and considered during the development of the design layout.
Community feedback prompted the redesign of proposed access changes to the Brisbane Road service road at Mooloolaba. The refined design was announced in March 2023 and removed any impact to Neerim Park to preserve this public green space for the community to continue to enjoy.
The project design will be finalised during the detailed design phase, which is underway and expected to be finished in early 2024. The detailed design phase involves developing working drawings and specifications suitable for construction. The construction program will also be determined during this phase.
Preliminary design work involved a wide range of technical activities, including:
- road and bridge engineering
- geotechnical, hydrological and drainage investigations
- electrical and Intelligent Transport System design
- public utility infrastructure requirements
- environmental and cultural heritage studies
- sustainability and innovation considerations
- active transport design and connectivity to local communities
- other rail and road infrastructure project considerations.
Integration with public transport planning
The department is planning a Sunshine Coast transport network that supports multiple modes, including public transport. The needs and impacts of future projects such as the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line, Kawana Motorway, Sunshine Coast Public Transport and Southern Sunshine Coast Public Transport projects are being considered as part of design work for the Mooloolah River Interchange Upgrade.
Environment, culture and heritage
The Mooloolah River Interchange Upgrade is committed to the protection and sustainability of the unique Sunshine Coast environment, culture, and heritage. The project team aims to tread lightly, minimise and mitigate impacts, and to replenish or enhance where possible.
On 28 August 2015, the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water advised approval of the project proposal with conditions, in accordance with Part 9 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
A condition of the EPBC Act approval is to establish a baseline data collection program to determine the area of occupancy of Water Mouse population in the project area, the water and salinity levels at high and low tides, and the condition and extent of Water Mouse habitat to be retained/avoided as part of the project. The approved baseline data collection program is provided in this report.
Road traffic noise
The department understands road traffic noise is of interest to many people who live near the project and recognises the need to consider noise reduction measures. The provision of noise reduction measures is determined in accordance with the department’s Transport Noise Management Code of Practice.
In order to effectively predict noise levels, the department uses a noise model which has been calibrated for Queensland conditions to predict likely noise levels in an area. The model assumes moderately adverse wind velocities and takes into account current and projected traffic volumes, topography, road surfacing type and other contributing factors.
Stage 1 layout
Mooloolah River Interchange location map
- An additional northbound lane between the Mooloolah River Interchange and Buderim-Mooloolaba Interchange
- New Sunshine Motorway overpass for traffic travelling from north to west (replaces existing loop configuration)
- New overpass providing eastbound traffic with a direct link to Brisbane Road
- Duplication of the Sunshine Motorway between the existing Kawana Way Interchange and the new Mooloolah River Interchange, completing 4 lanes to the Bruce Highway
- New direct local road connection between Karawatha Drive and Brisbane Road, removing the need for local drivers to weave across Sunshine Motorway traffic
- New overpass to connect Nicklin Way northbound with Brisbane Road (replaces existing loop configuration to Mooloolaba)
- New active transport provisions (pathways and cycle lanes) linking Parrearra, Mountain Creek, and Mooloolaba
- New Mooloolah River Crossing connecting the Sunshine Motorway to Kawana Way
- New signalised intersection with Kawana Way.