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Study into new four-lane motorway set to be completed in coming months

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Plans are progressing for a new high-speed motorway that could provide a direct link between major centres and ease congestion on main roads.

The state and federal governments are preparing a business case for the Kawana Motorway, a proposed four-lane route between Kawana and Caloundra.

It’s being conducted as part of a study on improving roads around the southern Sunshine Coast, and is expected to be completed in coming months.

Preliminary investigations have confirmed the need for a new motorway, about 9km long, parallel to the existing Kawana Way.

A Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesperson said it could help accommodate the region’s rapidly growing population.

“It forms part of TMR’s multi-modal transport solution to reduce travel time and congestion, provide more accessible travel choices and accommodate more than 500,000 Sunshine Coast residents by 2041,” they said.

“Planning is progressing for the Kawana Motorway, which aims to provide a direct connection between Parrearra and Meridan Plains, parallel to Kawana Way, and form part of a new high-speed alternative to the Bruce Highway.”

The Kawana Motorway would run parallel to Kawana Way and could run alongside a section of proposed rail line. Picture: TMR Project Newsletter, 2021

The suggested motorway would take pressure off other main roads and could link with other planned key intersections and roads.

“It would help reduce traffic on Nicklin Way and Kawana Way through a direct connection from Sunshine Motorway, through the Mooloolah River Interchange, to Bells Creek Arterial Road, onto the Bruce Highway,” the spokesperson said.

The motorway could also run adjacent to a section of the proposed Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line, a potentially crucial connection from Beerwah to Maroochydore ahead of the 2032 Olympics.

But the state government was waiting for the motorway study to be completed before announcing possible funding.

“The business case will include an options analysis, concept development and some investigation work and field studies,” they said.

“It will also provide further information on expected costs of the project.”

Community consultation was undertaken in 2021 and further consultation will take place within months, after concept designs for the motorway are developed.

The Kawana Motorway would form part of a new north-south motorway that could connect the existing Sunshine Motorway to the Bruce Highway. Picture: TMR Project Newsletter, 2021

The Australian Government has committed $2.6m towards the motorway study, as part of its $5m commitment to the Southern Sunshine Coast Roads Improvement Study.

A spokesperson for the Federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development said they were looking at ways to improve travel in the region.

“The study will provide an assessment to identify deficiencies and upgrade needs in the southern Sunshine Coast area, in order to provide options for future road upgrades that will aim to improve safety, network resilience and efficiency,” they said.

“The study will also deliver a business case for the Caloundra Road/Kawana Way Link Road/Bells Creek Arterial Road Intersection project.

“The projects considered in this study may improve road safety, reduce congestion and delays, remove local traffic from the busy Bruce Highway, and improve active and public transport infrastructure.”

The spokesperson said the federal government was working closely with the state government to deliver the study, which was expected to be completed in “coming months”.

“The governments will consider the outcomes of the study and business cases (and) any further funding would be considered by both governments through the usual budget processes,” they said.

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