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Stepping off a plane and on to a sun-yellow Gold Coast tram will be a reality within the decade, with funding for the light rail extension set to be fast-tracked in support of the 2032 Olympic Games bid.
Light rail Stage 4 will run from Burleigh Heads to the border, proposed to go through Palm Beach and stop at the airport.
Artist impressions of Gold Coast light rail Stage 4 - Burleigh Heads to Gold Coast Airport. Picture: Supplied
It is one of several key infrastructure projects that will be brought forward for the southeast Queensland Olympics, which is expected to be confirmed in July after the bid was named the preferred proponent.
It’s been 20 years since the idea of trams to the airport was first proposed and five years since airport bosses confirmed it as the preferred option.
The 2016 draft plan rejected calls for heavy rail, instead backing the Gold Coast City Council plan for light rail from the Gold Coast Highway to the centre of the precinct, just north of the Terminal Drive roundabout, stopping at the main terminal.
Artists impressions of the Gold Coast light rail extension to the airport. PHOTO: Supplied“It is proposed that the station be in front of the arrivals section, in the pedestrian plaza, providing connectivity to the rest of the precinct,” the plan said.
“This station location will achieve the most convenient access to the terminal for passengers with luggage while providing a venture point for surrounding non-aviation developments, like the Southern Cross University or the beach.
“It is anticipated the light rail will leave the site to the southeast towards Coolangatta and Tweed Heads.”
A heavy rail link is back on the agenda but any extension is set to follow light rail given its expected cost would exceed $4 billion.
How the light rail will look at Gold Coast Airport. PHOTO: SuppliedBack in May 2001 both modes of transport were front and centre of the Gold Coast Airport’s final masterplan for its 21st-century upgrade, promising to take the complex away from its regional routes into a “multi-modal transit centre”.
A proposed 500m extension to the 2000m runway was to allow aircraft already using the airport to fly to Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong for the first time.
Dennis ChantThen-Gold Coast Airport general manager Dennis Chant told media he was confident the plan would win the crucial support of federal Transport Minister John Anderson. He said the proposed extension would stay within the airport boundary to satisfy Tweed Council and residents’ groups worried about the loss of recreational land and noise pollution.
The revised plan also included detailed concepts of a major multi-modal transit centre to integrate long-haul air, rail, and road modes with local transport systems.
This article first appeared on www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au
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