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Plan to fix Coast's 'longest car park'

HECTIC: Caloundra Rd traffic congestion.
HECTIC: Caloundra Rd traffic congestion. Patrick Woods

HOW do we fix our Caloundra road chaos?

The solution won't be easy, but long-term planning needs to start now along with fast-tracking a number of projects to ease the pressure on Caloundra Rd.

That's the latest push from the Caloundra community, backed by Caloundra MP Mark McArdle and Kawana MP Jarrod Bleijie.

While Mr McArdle spoke of the need for a longer term, 20-30 year vision, he's pushing for a number of quick fixes, including slip lanes and traffic lights on the Caloundra Rd-Nicklin Way roundabout as well as speeding up completion of the Bells Creek Arterial Rd.

FIGHT: Ron Strong (L) has been leading the fight. Pictured here with Mark McArdle.
FIGHT: Ron Strong (L) has been leading the fight. Pictured here with Mark McArdle. Che Chapman

He stressed the solutions would be part of a broader plan that incorporated heavy rail duplication to Nambour as well as a light rail system from Caloundra to Mooloolaba to take pressure off the road network.

Mr McArdle and Mr Bleijie are calling on the State Government to work with developers Stockland to fast-track the Bells Creek Arterial Rd, with the incoming 50,000 new residents to Caloundra South set to push an already congested road system to breaking point.

"If we don't actually plan to deal with this matter now we'll have Caloundra Rd being the longest carp ark on the Sunshine Coast," Mr McArdle said.

Stockland's regional manager, Ben Simpson, said the 2.8km first phase of the Bells Creek Arterial Road servicing Bells Reach and Bellvista was due to be finished in early-2017.

He said they were also supportive of the push to fast-track the extension of the road and would welcome talks with the State Government on how to bring forward completion of the full seven-kilometre extension.

"We are supportive of calls to fast track the extension of the Bells Creek Arterial Road and to connect it with the newly constructed Bells Creek Interchange on the Bruce Highway," Mr Simpson said.

"We acknowledge the inherent benefits that bringing forward the completion of the Bells Creek Arterial Road would bring to commuters looking to access the new Sunshine Coast Health Precinct and broader Caloundra area, to and from the Bruce Highway, and its ability to alleviate congestion on Caloundra Road.

"We would welcome discussions with the State Government on how to bring forward the full 7-kilometre extension of the Bells Creek Arterial, ahead of our current schedule for its development."

He and Mr Bleijie were joined by former policeman Ron Strong who led the State Parliament petition to improve Caloundra Rd traffic congestion.

Mr McArdle praised the Sunshine Coast Council for the work it was looking at with the Caloundra CBD plans and improvements to roadways necessary to drive that development.

He said an improvement of the Bowman Rd-Bulcock St intersection was also important to help traffic flow as new residents of Caloundra South and Palmview were drawn to Caloundra's beaches.

"We need planning done ... otherwise the solution is rushed down the track," Mr McArdle said.

Kawana MP Jarrod Bleijie criticised comments made this week by Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey about the former government's handling of the Mooloolah River Interchange.

Mr Bailey said the project hadn't been fully planned for or costed, claims rejected by Mr Bleijie who pointed out the Newman Government had a costed plan to deliver the upgrade.

"If elected we were going to build it, whether he liked how we did it or not (referring to the project funding depending on Strong Choices program) isn't his business," Mr Bleijie said.

"He still has a responsibility to deliver the road."

Mr Bleijie said any easing of congestion on Kawana Way would need to be replicated on Nicklin Way and Caloundra Rd.

"You can certainly upgrade that roundabout (Caloundra Rd-Nicklin Way) now with extra turning lanes," Mr Bleijie said.

Mr Bailey recently announced the final plans for Caloundra Rd-Sunshine Mwy upgrades for the Bruce Hwy which featured an Australian-first, diverging diamond design for the Caloundra Rd Interchange.

Mr McArdle said innovative designs like that should be explored when it came to solving the Caloundra Rd traffic issues.

A community forum will be held on Tuesday, October 18 at the CCSA Hall on Nutley St, Caloundra from 6pm with representatives from Stockland and the Department of Transport and Main Roads invited with locals invited to have their say on how best to solve the issues.

To book in for the forum email caloundra@parliament.qld.gov.au

Topics:  caloundra, caloundra rd, roads, state government, sunshine coast, traffic


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