One of south-east Queensland’s most congested highways – the M1 from Brisbane to the Gold Coast – is expected to see a decline of up to 60,000 trips daily, with construction of the 16-kilometre Coomera Connector set to begin.
As the first sod of soil was turned on the “second M1” on Sunday, the state government said the $2.16 billion Connector would ease congestion and also support 1000 jobs during its construction.
The project is touted as Queensland’s biggest single road project, with stage one expected to start between Shipper Drive in Coomera and Helensvale Road at Helensvale.
Up to 60,000 daily trips will be taken off the M1, the state government says, as more motorists use the Connector to travel between Coomera and Nerang.
Commuters have long been frustrated with the M1 between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and even single-car crashes can result in lengthy delays, often more than doubling the standard hour-long trip.
Delays near the rapidly growing Coomera region, in addition to Pimpama further north, indicate roads in the area have not kept up with the Gold Coast’s booming population, which is forecast to reach close to 800,000 over the next decade – up from 732,000 now.
The government says the Connector will mean more reliable travel times between the two cities, with the central part of the project, connecting to Smith Street motorway, expected to start this year.
The “second M1”, with split funding from the federal and state governments, is expected to open from 2025.