A SECOND bridge over the Nerang River is the centrepiece of the ASF Consortium's plan to improve traffic flow at The Spit as it pursues plans for a $3 billion casino and resort next to Sea World.
Traffic is already an issue for The Spit, making the consortium's plans a key part of its strategy to gain Queensland Government approval for the casino and resort, which will only put more pressure on the existing infrastructure.
The bridge for southbound traffic along the Gold Coast Highway is part of the first stage of the plan, which will cost in excess of $100 million and include an upgrade to the intersections at MacArthur Parade, Seaworld Drive, and on the Gold Coast Highway.
ASF director, Louis Chien, says the company's strategy will include new and upgraded infrastructure, while encouraging public transport, walking and cycling as options for access to The Spit.
"The first stage of the plan will support the delivery and ongoing operation of the Integrated Resort Development and will ease congestion in the area, whilst the strategy for the second stage looks to accommodate the future growth of the City's traffic," says Chien.
Damien Bitzios, Director of Bitzios Consulting, a Gold Coast-based traffic engineering and transportation planning consultancy, says the new bridge provides more capacity than what is required for the resort and benefits the broader Main Beach area.
"The bridge will essentially split traffic by focusing north-oriented traffic to the new bridge and south-oriented traffic to Waterways Drive, reducing the bottle neck at the Waterways Drive and Gold Coast Highway intersection at peak times," says Bitzios.
The bridge would be a second road bridge across the Nerang River in the area and is proposed to connect from near Ada Bell Way and from near Waterways Drive, just east of Main Beach.
"This location minimises the extent of traffic impacts and crossing distances whilst providing a connection that can be used by not only the Integrated Resort Development, but by other residents of Main Beach and Surfers Paradise as well as visitors to the broader Spit area," says Bitzios.
While Bitzios says the traffic predictions remain "fluid", he is confident ASF's plan will account for peak traffic times and accommodate future growth while improving a number of pinch points around Main Beach.
Stage two of the plan includes upgrading the Gold Coast Highway between North Street and Queen Street to six lanes, and remains uncosted.
"There's also the option to include light rail, a ferry service in the Broadwater and a pedestrian link from Southport to the Broadwater Parklands within Stage Two," says Bitzios.
Although it will be up to the State Government to approve the casino and resort plans, City of Gold Coast Southport councillor Dawn Crichlow remains a strong critic.
"There is a three-storey height limit on The Spit in the plan that was adopted by Council on 16 February 2016 and the State Government signed off on that three storey limit," she tells Business News Australia.
"I don't care whether they are going to put 24-carat gold bridges across the Broadwater, I won't be supporting a high rise on The Spit."
Chrichlow says a similar plan has been costed at $200 million and questioned ASF's track record in committing funds to the community.
Business News Australia
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