First look: Spectacular new light rail bridges
THEY look quirky, colourful and cost $5 million each: take your first look at the Gold Coast City Council's proposed koala bridges proposed for the Stage 4 extension of light rail.
Mayor Tom Tate will on Wednesday unveil two colourful proposed wildlife overpasses to be built over the Gold Coast Highway, irrespective of which route the city and authorities eventually agree on.
Preliminary designs drawn up by council engineers show the bridges would be constructed using verenoid-style patterns similar to the Home of the Arts (HOTA) art gallery.
The northern bridge would run between Burleigh Ridge Park and Burleigh Heads National Park.
The southern bridge would cross from the Kandra Reserve to the Currumbin Hill Conservation Park on the highway's eastern side.
Mayor Tate, a qualified civil engineer, has worked closely with the council team on the design and said he has the "koalifications" to make it a success.
Cr Tate said the bridges would strengthen the city's environmental credentials and protect local wildlife.
"Regardless of whatever happens (with the route), we should now build koala crossings. We should do it now so that when the light rail comes underneath, it's already done," he said.
"I don't think there is anyone who will say they don't want koalas to be able to cross from Burleigh Hill to the bushland reserve.
"It's like a green bridge on steroids.
"The other important thing will be to have the approvals for the two bridge crossings in place."
Council data published in 2019 revealed an estimated 5900 koalas inhabit 41,000ha of preferred koala habitat in the city.
There is no estimate of how many koalas have been killed on the Burleigh Heads corridor.
The State Government is supportive of building at least one wildlife bridge, with one included in the proposed Palm Beach light rail link unveiled in March.
Council candidate Zac Revere also campaigned on building such an overpass in the lead-up to the March elections.
Originally published as First look: Spectacular new light rail bridges