THE second stage of the Gold Coast light rail is off to an immediate start this month after GoldLinQ awarded the $200 million construction contract to CIMIC Group (ASX:CIM).
The company says construction will be due for completion in late 2017, in line with expectations that it will be ready for the Commonwealth Games.
The 7.3km extension will link the city's popular tram network to heavy rail, tracking a route from Gold Coast University Hospital and along Smith Street before heading north along the M1 to Helensvale railway station.
The second stage is seen as critical to meeting the increasing demand for public transport and to support the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate has already indicated that during his new term of office he will be pushing for the third stage to connect with Coolangatta Airport. The airport revealed this week that it has allocated land for the light rail as part of its 20-year master plan.
The light rail is expected to help meet the Gold Coast's transport needs during the 2018 Commonwealth Games which will attract 6500 athletes and team officials, 16,000 workers and volunteers, and 1.5 million ticketed spectators.
Gold Coast trams will be able to transport up to 3000 people an hour from Helensvale into Southport, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach.
"The Queensland Government's commitment to delivering stateoftheart public transport has provided us with the opportunity to design and construct this significant light rail infrastructure," says CIMIC Group's CEO Marcelino Fernández Verdes.
"Our capability and major project experience in the rail sector provide the certainty of delivery that is necessary for the expansion of the transport network in one of the fastest growing cities in Australia."
CIMIC' subsidiary CPB Contractors has been awarded the contract, and it has vowed to focus on creating local job and supplier opportunities during the construction phase.
"We continue to work with GoldLinQ to achieve innovative design and costeffective construction solutions for this project, to the benefit of the people of Queensland," says CPB Contractors' managing director Román Garrido.
"In addition, our team will engage with local workers and businesses to develop increased job and work opportunities as the project progresses."
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