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.
In December 2021, GHD SMEC Joint Venture was awarded a contract to undertake design work for the Mooloolah River Interchange upgrade. This project will improve north–south travel between key residential, employment, health, and education facilities to support population, economic and tourism growth in one of Australia's fastest growing regions.
In addition to improved transport capacity, reliability and safety, the Mooloolah River Interchange will improve access and active transport connectivity for local communities in the Birtinya, Mountain Creek and Mooloolaba areas.
- 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.
These local road connections will separate local traffic from high-speed motorway traffic and reduce traffic weaving—a well-known issue at this interchange.
These first stage works need to be delivered first to enable construction of the project's future stages. These new connections will move local traffic away from the area and minimise impacts and inconvenience to road users and the broader network during future stages.
Future stages included in the planning layout 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.
Joint funding of $320 million has been committed to deliver Stage 1 of the project.
The Queensland Government has committed $160 million to deliver Stage 1 of this project. Investment ID 2007574
The Australian Government has committed $160 million to deliver Stage 1 of this project.
Funding is required to progress future stages to construction.
- Total investment
- $320 million
- Australian Government
- $160 million
- Queensland Government
- $160 million
Mooloolah River Interchange flythrough
The Queensland Government is planning a major transport infrastructure project at Mountain Creek to make it easier, safer and quicker for people to travel on the Sunshine Coast, one of Australia’s fastest growing regions.
The Mooloolah River Interchange project will deliver a major new interchange, which will provide improved north-south connectivity and more efficient access to Maroochydore CBD, University of the Sunshine Coast, the Sunshine Coast University Hospital and health precinct, and the beaches.
It will also improve safety, by reducing crashes and traffic weaving.
Other improvements include an additional northbound lane on the Sunshine Motorway up to the Buderim-Mooloolaba Interchange and a new Sunshine Motorway overpass to provide a continuous high-speed connection for motorists travelling from north to west.
Access will be improved for local communities with a new Nicklin Way overpass connecting directly to Brisbane Road, new Mooloolah River crossings connecting the Sunshine Motorway to Kawana Way, a new link between Karawatha Drive and Brisbane Road and a new Sunshine Motorway overpass.
Active transport pathways are also included in the planning layout, to make it easier for people to ride and walk and a new signalised intersection will connect the Mooloolah River crossings to Kawana Way and southern areas of the Sunshine Coast.
The Mooloolah River Interchange project will provide new north-south connectivity between Maroochydore and southern growth areas, delivering a safer and more efficient transport network to meet the current and future transport needs of the growing Sunshine Coast region.
To find out more about the Mooloolah River Interchange project, visit tmr.qld.gov.au/mooloolahriverinterchange
Design work is progressing and expected to be completed in 2023. Construction timeframes for Stage 1 will be determined during the design phase.
Since March 2022, on-site field investigation activities have been completed at various locations. These on-site activities will be used to technically inform the design and include geotechnical, road pavement, bridge, drainage structure and public utility infrastructure investigations.
Investigations are being conducted on land and in neighbouring river locations with most being conducted on state government-owned land. Some minor vegetation clearing is being undertaken to facilitate access to these locations. A wildlife spotter/catcher is present during the activities as required to mitigate wildlife impacts.
Works will occur between 6am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. However, due to the high volumes of traffic on certain roads, some works will need to be completed at night between 7pm and 5am, Sunday to Thursday.
Community consultation on the planning layout for the Mooloolah River Interchange was initially undertaken between 19 July 2021 and 27 August 2021. We reopened our online interactive map for further public feedback from 15 March 2022 to 29 April 2022.
Feedback submitted included design suggestions, road traffic noise impacts, active transport provisions, property impacts, traffic congestion, timing of the upgrade, environmental impacts, visual amenity changes and road user safety.
Community feedback is being considered as design work progresses. A design layout will be made available to the community in 2023.
The design phase involves a wide range of technical design activities, including:
- road and bridge engineering
- geotechnical investigations
- hydrological studies and drainage design
- electrical and Intelligent Transport System design
- public utility infrastructure requirements
- environmental and cultural heritage studies
- active transport design and connectivity to local communities.
Road signs and markings
The design phase will identify a combination of directional and destination appropriate signage and linemarking to delineate travel directions. These will help direct people to ensure drivers are able to identify appropriate lanes and exits for their destinations. We use national standards and guidelines as outlined in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for all signage considerations.
Integration with public transport planning
We are 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 (DSC) Rail Line, Kawana Way (Mooloolah River Interchange to Kawana Way Link Road), the Buderim–Mooloolaba interchange to Maroochy Boulevard, Sunshine Coast Public Transport and Draft Southern Sunshine Coast Public Transport Strategy projects will be 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.
Stage 1 plan (local road connections)
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.