The Council of Mayors’ (SEQ) People Mass Movement Study, with a comprehensive road map of 47 priority projects aimed at reducing gridlock in the region, has identified several key points to address population growth and transport demand in Ipswich.
A snapshot of some of the big ticket items in the road map include faster rail in the Western Corridor and major upgrades to the Ipswich Motorway and Centenary Highway.
The study, released today by the Council of Mayors (SEQ), which includes Ipswich Interim Administrator Greg Chemello, is an in-depth view of the growth and transport challenges facing the region, ultimately delivering a roadmap to reduce congestion and drive stronger regional connectivity in the coming decades.
Chair and Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said 47 major projects are prioritised in the SEQ People Mass Movement Study for delivery over the next 23 years. This includes the introduction of a faster rail network running from the Sunshine Coast to the Gold Coast via Brisbane, and to Ipswich and then Toowoomba.
Currently, SEQ’s rail system is unable to meet the needs of the region in a satisfactory manner, largely because an essentially urban rail system servicing the Greater Brisbane area is being used to service the wider geographical SEQ region, Cr Quirk said.
To address this, SEQ should consider the creation of a two-tier system, consisting of urban passenger rail (existing QR Citytrain) and faster rail (new system).
Faster rail will provide a higher speed mass transit service connecting the major centres with limited stops at major activity centres only. The maximum operating speed is anticipated to be between 200 to 250km/h with an average running speed up to about 150-160km/h.
An SEQ faster rail network delivered by 2031 would reduce travel time from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast by 48 per cent, to the Gold Coast by 52 per cent and to Ipswich by 66 per cent.
Currently, it takes 58 minutes to travel by train from Ipswich Central to Brisbane Central. The proposed faster rail program would see a reduction in travel time of 66 per cent to just 20 minutes. The cost was estimated at $1.7 billion.
A faster rail network from Ipswich to Toowoomba is also proposed at a cost of $3.4 billion.
Another of the 47 projects included the extension of the Springfield railway line, with $1 billion needed from an “urban passenger rail service for Ripley to Ipswich (via Yamanto), and thus providing the Brisbane-Springfield-Ipswich connection.
Mr Chemello said the faster rail program would be crucial for the region as population soared at an unprecedented rate and welcomed a trip of 20 minutes between the two cities.
“We recently passed the 215,000 population point and we are heading towards 500,000 within 20 years,” Mr Chemello said.
“It is absolutely vital that public transport is significantly improved to cater for that growth. That means rail, buses and a better transport and road network.”
The Springfield railway line opened in December 2013, but commuters have to change trains at Darra to get to Ipswich. The State Government’s Connecting SEQ 2031 Plan includes an extension of the Springfield line to Redbank Plains and Ripley – two of the region’s fastest growing suburbs – and through to Ipswich.
Council has been pleading with the government to introduce that link sooner, with land available now to build the extension to Redbank Plains and Ripley.
“We can’t stress enough the importance of this rail link. Ipswich is growing rapidly and we need the transport infrastructure urgently to cope with the population explosion,” Mr Chemello said.
The overarching message from the study’s transport work to-date was that infrastructure delivery in South East Queensland was no longer keeping pace with the region’s projected population growth.
“Traffic congestion will continue to worsen on all of South East Queensland’s major corridors as we head towards 2031, and by 2041, all major corridors will be over capacity in peak hours conditions,” it said.
Mr Chemello noted that the study found the Ipswich Motorway and Centenary Highway had “very high” anticipated growth and by 2041 would be “over capacity”.
“It is essential to undertake the appropriate transport and infrastructure planning needed to cater for the future growth of the region,” he said.
Mr Chemello said he looked forward to the council working with State and Federal Governments in the future to help address Ipswich’s future transport needs.
SEQ PEOPLE MASS MOVEMENT STUDY
Ipswich projects in order of priority
- Centenary Motorway Upgrade Projects: Moggill Road to Sumners Road Interchange 6 lanes; Logan Motorway to Springfield and Springfield to Yamanto (4 lane upgrade); $1.1 billion
- Ipswich Motorway Upgrade Projects: Darra to Rocklea (Centenary Motorway to Sherwood Road); $1.9 billion
- Norman Street Bridge: additional crossing of the Bremer River to remove traffic from CBD; 4 lane bridge with bicycle lanes and pedestrian pathway; $200 million
- Warrego Highway Upgrade Projects: Ipswich (Dinmore to Toowoomba; 6 lanes Dinmore to Brisbane Valley Highway and 4 lane upgrades and interchanges to Toowoomba; $1.88 billion
- Ipswich to Springfield Rail Line (Springfield to Ripley section): Urban passenger rail Springfield to Ripley section; $500 million
- Bus Rapid Transit (BRT): faster bus network from Toowoomba to Ipswich; $100 milion
- Logan Motorway Upgrade project: Ipswich Motorway to Mt Lindsay Highway and Wembley Road to the Pacific Motorway; $1.2 billion
- Faster Rail Network: Brisbane to Ipswich Central, travel times reduced by 66 per cent; $1.7 billion
- Western Ipswich Bypass and Cunningham Highway Upgrades: Connecting the Warrego Highway and Cunningham Highway and upgrades to the Cunningham Highway from Yamanto to Amberley (including the Amberley interchange); $700 million
- Ipswich to Springfield Rail Line (Ripley to Ipswich section): Urban passenger rail Ripley to Ipswich via Yamanto section; $900 million
- Faster Rail Network: Ipswich to Toowoomba; $3.4 billion