New road bridge or tunnel from Southport Broadwater to Southport Spit. It it possible? Photo: Supplied Sunland proposed development at Southport Spit Photo: Supplied
The Gold Coast must look at a road tunnel or a new bridge between the Southport Broadwater and the Southport Spit, to avoid emerging traffic congestion, one of its longest-serving representatives said.
Former mayor, state MP and long-serving councillor Lex Bell said a bridge or tunnel should be part of a 20-year traffic and development study for the Southport Broadwater.
“And that would include ways to fund it,” Cr Bell said.
Gold Coast City Council – and the Queensland Government – are in the early stages of assessing several large developments on the Southport Spit; the ASF Consortium’s proposed casino and Sunland’s twin 44-storey towers at their Marina Cove site.
At present Gold Coast City Council has a three-storey ceiling limit on the Southport Spit.
Traffic congestion is a major problem on Seaworld Drive on the Southport Spit and Main Beach.
Cr Lex Bell – who has represented Surfers Paradise as a councillor since 1985; as Gold Coast’s mayor from 1988 to 1994 and as the Surfers Paradise MP (2001-04) before John Paul Langbroek – said it made sense to consider a tunnel or a new bridge to the Spit.
Cr Bell is deputy chair of Council’s City Planning and its Economic Development committees.
The idea was floated on Tuesday morning by prominent property developer Max Christmas, as chair of the Gold Coast’s Heart of the City advisory committee which reports to Gold Coast City Council.
Cr Bell agreed it was time for a long-term traffic study of the Southport Broadwater and the Spit to look at a new bridge or tunnel between the two.
“It has costs, but it has merit,” Cr Bell said.
“A new approach across the Broadwater – whether it be a tunnel or bridge – to somewhere like Labrador where the traffic can get away – certainly has merit,” he said.
“The issue of course would be costs.”
The long-serving councillor believed the area needed a long-term traffic study as part of a renewed plan for the area.
“The reality of it is that whatever the development is – whether it is three storeys or 40 storeys on the Spit – there needs to be additional access to the main beach area,” Cr Bell said.
Cr Bell believed simply upgrading the existing road network would be a short-term fix.
“You still get back to the Gold Coast Highway, which just gets jammed and becomes a parking lot,” he said.
“And better roads leading on to a parking lot doesn’t help much.”
He said the recent XCAT power boat championships held on the Southport Broadwater proved traffic congestion would become a disaster if major events were held in the future without changes.
He told how an overseas sporting ambassador – whom organisers wanted to impress – was stuck in their car for 40 minutes and got out and began to walk before a water taxi was arranged.
Cr Bell said he doubted that infrastructure charges from developers – and leasehold charges from using Crown land – would be insufficient to cover the cost.
“I believe that the cost would be far too great for contributions to developers,” he said.
“And the Crown land – most of the Southport Spit is Crown land – would yield a return, but it would go to Crown, not to Council, so Council would not receive that,” he said.
Cr Bell said no new bridges – or a tunnel – were included in the Gold Coast Harbour Plan – which he considers the region’s master plan.
Cr Bell said it was now time for a long-term traffic and development plan for the Southport Spit.
“I don’t think it is just a simple matter of just responding to individual applications, though the Council has a legal duty to respond to the applications that are duly lodged,” he said.
“But overall I think there needs to be a plan – and a comprehensive 20-year-plan – that would look at how the traffic would get in and out for decades to come.”
“Now as part of that I think there would be some sort of traffic corridor up to Labrador, but it would need to be long-term because funding would be procured from other levels of government.”
Prominent property developer Max Christmas on Tuesday called for the tunnel to avoid traffic congestion at Main Beach.
“We need a tunnel across the Broadwater, coming out on Brisbane Road,” Mr Christmas told News Ltd.
“It will stop the traffic going through Main Beach.”
Meanwhile Sunland’s twin buildings for the Southport Spit are similar to the three buildings proposed for the old ABC site at Toowong by the same developer and architect, Iraqi-British architect Dame Zaha Hadid for Sunland’s Grace on Coronation project.
The Heart of the City advisory committee was set up by Gold Coast City Council in 2013 to advise on Surfer’s Paradise growth.
Mr Christmas believes developers could help fund the tunnel costs by making lease payments to use the state government Crown Land, which makes up most of the Southport Spit.
He suggests parkland be preserved on the north-eastern edge of the Spit.
Mayor Tom Tate said developers who had lodged applications on the Southport Spit should collectively consider transport options to improve transport problems on the Spit and submit them to Gold Coast City Council.
Want more stories like this? Follow our Facebook feed.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net. Learn more