STAGE two of the Gold Coast light rail is now on the fast track with construction of the 7.3 kilometre extension to commence next month.
Permanent works on stage two, which is expected to support up to 1000 direct and indirect jobs during construction and operation, will start on schedule in early July following the completion of site investigations.
The 7.3 kilometre extension runs from Gold Coast University Hospital and connects with heavy rail at Helensvale station.
Stage two will include three new light rail stations at Parkwood East, Parkwood and Helensvale and an extra 1400 park 'n' ride carparks at Helensvale and Parkwood stations.
Minister for Transport Stirling Hinchliffe says stage two will improve regional connectivity, providing public transport users with easy transfer between light rail, heavy rail and bus which will help to ease road congestion.
"Construction will continue into 2017 with testing to occur in the second half of next year to ensure there will be trams carrying passengers to and from Helensvale before the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games starting in April," says Hinchliffe.
"Stage two is a critical project for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games that we were determined to see built.
"The extension connects five competition venues to accommodation and public transport interchanges and will ensure the Gold Coast is games-ready to host the crowds of visitors who will flock to watch all the sporting competition in April 2018."
Stage two effectively uses existing road and rail corridors with the new track to run near the Smith Street Motorway and next to the Gold Coast rail line and the inter-regional transport corridor.
City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate says the light rail is vital to service the needs of the growing region.
"Gold Coast Light Rail patronage continues to exceed expectations and stage two will ensure our city is best-placed to host the Games," says Tate.
"With construction set to start next month, we're on track to see this vital second stage of the light rail completed before the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games."
Meanwhile, GoldLinQ CEO Phil Mumford says initial construction activities include the establishment of construction site areas, clearing of vegetation within the project boundary and placement of temporary fencing and environmental controls.
"Relocation of underground services and civil construction including earth works will be underway in coming months along with construction of bridges and other infrastructure required for this vital transport link," says Mumford.
"During construction every effort will be taken to minimise disruption and to keep the community up-to-date on activities."
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