The first three stages of the proposed Bruce Highway Western Alternative (BHWA), now dubbed the Moreton Motorway, will carve a path between Bald Hills and Moodlu on the D'Aguilar highway near Caboolture, being a pressure release valve for the Bruce Highway and Old Gympie Road.
“TMR says there is no time frame for road building, and a starting date will depend on funding.”
This relief will occur one section at a time as the four stages of the motorway are completed. But there is no money for a road yet.
The State and Federal government, jointly funding the project, have handed $20m to the Transport and Main Roads (TMR) Department to spend on creating corridors, which is a very small part of the total project. However, TMR says there is no time frame for road building, and a starting date will depend on funding.
The Moreton Motorway will provide access to the future city-sized settlement of Caboolture West, which could be renamed 'Waraba'.
The new works will be critical to Caboolture West residents and commuters, as the road will be the most direct connection to Brisbane for work, study and recreation. It will provide rail commuters increased accessibility to the recently upgraded Dakabin station and the Narangba and Burpengary stations, both of which will be upgraded soon with $6m worth of new parking (Narangba) and a $36m accessibility upgrade (Burpengary).
The fourth stage of the road project is shown as 'an indicative study area' on the map, a smudge indicating a future prospect, not a current plan. If approved, it would take the motorway from Moodlu up to Beerburrum, where it will join the Bruce Highway.
Despite years of speculation about the need for a second northern rail line into Brisbane, the Minister for Transport Mark Bailey recently described the lone line from the north as 'not sustainable' and no new rail line on the drawing board for Caboolture West.
The State Government says it is making progress on roads; however, the missing rail line is part of a larger picture of lagging road and rail infrastructure construction in North Brisbane and Moreton Bay, whose residents are living inside a pressure cooker of booming land development and population growth.
Mr Shane King, State Member for Kurwongbah, acknowledges the pressure on Moreton Bay's roads and says his government is delivering 'the largest road upgrade infrastructure program the state has ever seen.'.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads has recently announced that the land acquisitions for the stage one and two corridors have been determined, and all landowners have been contacted.
There were around 85 properties affected in stage 2, the most recent to be finalised.
Two rounds of public consultation were held, closing on 12 February. The consultations attracted over 1,000 pieces of feedback with approximately 500 attendees combined.
The focus will now switch to Stage three of the BHWA corridor that runs from Narangba to Bald Hills. While over 220 pieces of early feedback have already been submitted to the TMR for stage three, public feedback is continuing at yoursay-projects.tmr.qld.gov.au/bhwa/stage-3.
Missed Forecast on Transport Needs:
There was scarcely a hint of urgency around commuter transport requirements for Caboolture West nine years ago.
The Caboolture West Structure Plan produced in 2014 for Moreton Bay Regional Council forecast that commuter links to Brisbane would be a secondary consideration for Caboolture West, as it would be further than a 45 minutes drive from Brisbane.
The forecast maintained that Caboolture-Morayfield was within a self-contained regional catchment and needed to look to its own regional opportunities.
Furthermore, the 2014 Caboolture West Transport Modelling Study Report predicted that only 21 per cent of trips would end outside the Caboolture West, Caboolture and Morayfield areas.
To strengthen links within the region, the report recommended the provision of a segregated bus transport corridor (a separate bus lane) from Caboolture West to the Caboolture town centre and railway station, a reflection of the expectation that the area would be largely self-contained. However, nine years later, information about dedicated bus lanes in Caboolture West is elusive.
Questions & Answers
Is there a name for the road yet? A better name than BWHA?
Yes, Moreton Motorway - not set to inspire, but easier to say than Bruce Highway Western Alternative (BHWA).
The Stage 2 corridor runs through an important wildlife habitat. What about the wildlife that will lose their homes?
The TMR will construct dedicated fauna passages and provide better locations for fish to cross waterways. Also, fences and other infrastructure to mitigate impacts on any environmentally sensitive areas.
How long is the road going to be?
Between 50 and 60 km when complete. But they are only looking at the corridor right now. The road comes later.
How many stages are there if it won't be built all at once?
Four stages, taking a path from Bald Hills up to Beerburrum.
Which stages have been approved so far?
The stage one corridor, eight kilometres from Moodlu to Moorina, is approved and gazetted, and stage two, sixteen kilometres from Moorina to Narangba, is expected to be finalised by July this year.
What about stage three and four corridors?
Planning and consultation for stage 3, from Narangba to Bald Hills, has begun, and stage four, Beerburrum to Moodlu, will follow.
When will construction of the actual road begin?
Unknowable. The corridor comes first. There is no funding approved for construction yet. TMR advises that timeframes for more detailed planning, design and construction are unknown and will depend on government priorities and future funding commitments.
Will it be four lanes?
Yes, four lanes all the way, with modern interchanges along the way.
Will the new road really be an alternative route to the Bruce Highway?
Yes, but not till all four stages are built. The first three stages will take the road as far as Moodlu on the D'Aguilar Highway. The final stage to Beerburrum is designated an indicative study area and will come later.
If the fourth stage is some time away, is a road from Bald Hills to Moodlu beneficial?
The Moreton Motorway will provide access to a city-sized settlement, Caboolture West, not far from Moodlu.
Will the new road be quicker than the Bruce Highway?
This comes down to perspective. It will be longer by way of kilometres; however, when it comes to predicting distance using time, much of this depends on traffic and what speed you choose to drive. Each driver will have their own answer to this question once they have tried the new road.
Can I have a say about the proposed route?
Comments have closed for stages 1 and 2 now, but you are encouraged to have your say on stages three and four at www.yoursay-projects.tmr.qld.gov.au/bhwa
MYTH: The new road will mean reduced traffic on the Bruce Highway.
FACT: Yes… in the short term, as it is likely that some people would choose to use the motorway over the highway moving forward. However, one can logically assume that the highway will continue to be widened and upgraded as the population grows.
MYTH: All the Koalas will lose their homes
FACT: This is a possibility, as conserving wildlife will always be challenging in areas where humans want to live. The TMR is using wildlife passages and other measures to help mitigate this. Council has just committed to more infill developments and a 25% urban footprint limit in the Moreton Bay region, leaving the balance free of urban development.
MYTH: A lot of people will have their homes resumed.
FACT: The proposed corridors use government-owned land where possible and avoid densely populated areas as much as possible.
MYTH: The new road will be ready to use soon.
FACT: No. The TMR and the government can't say when the road will be started or finished.
MYTH: The new road will be a shortcut (less km)
FACT: No. It will be a longer distance (km) than the equivalent Bruce Highway.