The Caboolture West development could add tens of thousands of motorists to the Bruce Highway. Picture: Department of Transport and Main Roads.
The Caboolture West development could add tens of thousands of motorists to the Bruce Highway. Picture: Department of Transport and Main Roads.

How will highway cope with monster development?

ROAD and rage are two words sometimes associated with the Bruce Hwy and motorists - but some parties fear it could get worse if the necessary planning isn't undertaken to cater for Brisbane's newest satellite city.

The Courier-Mail spoke to experts and stakeholders about the potential of 70,000 more people commuting in and out of the new Caboolture West development over the next 40 years.

The first master planned community development proposal was lodged by AV Jennings late last month with the potential to build 8700 of the region's 26,900 projected homes and town centre.

But there could be a long way to go until Moreton Bay Regional Council approves a development of that scale as it plans to revisit its traffic management plans.

"The 2014 Caboolture West Transport Modelling Study Report was a preliminary strategic transport report which assumed development commencing in Caboolture West in 2016," a council spokesman said.

"This hasn't eventuated. As a part of the next stage of planning and investigation required to occur for Caboolture West, additional traffic analysis is required to review and confirm required transport infrastructure upgrades (and timing of those upgrades)."

Current modelling has no plans for a train station at Caboolture West, but the council intends on building a rapid bus transit which would link to Caboolture.

Southbound Traffic on the Bruce Highway. Photo Lachie Millard
Southbound Traffic on the Bruce Highway. Photo Lachie Millard

University of Queensland planning academic Laurel Johnson said this was a "black mark".

"People don't like mode changes," she said. "They'd rather travel on one mode of transport, not multiple, unless they're really streamline.

"Even that's not preferred. People would rather drive than bus to a train station - the last mile for transit is the hardest thing for us to crack in planning.

"You're tired, you get off the train then you have to wait for a bus that may or may not come; it may or may not have room; you can't stop for milk or pick up the kids."

But the real challenge Ms Johnson said is to create jobs within the region so motorists don't have to leave and flood the major arterials.

Caboolture West is currently expected to home just under 70,000 people and create 17,000 jobs.

"Congestion on major arterials and close to centre of Brisbane comes from people trying to access jobs," Ms Johnson said.

"The major challenge in SEQ and other metros in Australia containing employment. If you get a mismatch in growth and employment, then the roads are under pressure."

RACQ Head of Public Policy Dr Rebecca Michael agrees alternative travel options were crucial, as well as significant road upgrades.

"Residents also need alternative options such as public and active transport to ensure there are sustainable alternatives to driving and which will in turn reduce demand on the road network," she said.

"We'd like to see the delivery of road, public and active transport solutions such as upgrades to the Bruce Highway, new corridors like the North Brisbane Bruce Highway Western Alternative and the North South Urban Arterial, the Beerburrum To Nambour Rail Duplication and new rail connections with Park'n'Ride upgrades.

"A suitable bus network, including on-demand services is also needed to link to rail to accommodate safe walking and cycling options."

Developer AV Jennings' proposal includes plans to upgrade Bellmere Rd, one of the current main roads in and out of Caboolture West.

The council has identified a host of upgrades needed to support growth in the region based on an independent report, but it will now revisit those plans.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) said it will leave the delivery of the Caboolture West infrastructure to the council.

"Moreton Bay Regional Council is engaging with the relevant state government agencies to develop the land and plan for the future transport requirements of Caboolture West and the surrounding road network, including the Bruce Hwy," a TMR spokeswoman said.

"We will continue to work closely with the council as the development progresses to ensure future state transport requirements are addressed.

"The Australian and Queensland Governments are already delivering on Bruce Hwy upgrades with a $12.6 billion, 15-year (2013-14 to 2027-28) Bruce Hwy Upgrade Program."