M1 traffic: Commuters stuck an extra 100 minutes a week

Congestion on the Pacific Motorway has reached crisis proportions. Photo: SuppliedPacific Motorway commuters spend an extra hour-and-a-half stuck in traffic at Logan compared to last year, according to latest Transport and Main Roads figures.
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The 140,000 vehicles that crawl along the M1 between Beenleigh and Underwood spend an extra 10 minutes a trip, or 20 minutes a day, on their journeys, the figures show.

Now a worried Logan City Council will step into the federal election asking for extra federal funds because 175,000 new homes are to be built in the Logan region in the next 20 years.

That will put extra pressure on the Pacific Motorway.

Logan Mayor Luke Smith says the city should become “south-east Queensland’s Parramatta” offering new-generation jobs to stop workers driving to Brisbane and the Gold Coast for work.

“We want to be a business hub for south-east Queensland; we want to be the Parramatta of south-east Queensland,” Cr Smith said.

“We can turn Logan into that second CBD so that we will be able to offer a solution to the worsening congestion.”

As  part of the new 2016 election campaign one Logan glass repair business will on Friday explain how the congestion costs their firm $9000 a week in delays, loss of business, overtime and fuel.

Businesses in the rapidly growing Logan region use the Pacific Motorway as a connection route to get to jobs in nearby Brisbane and Gold Coast suburbs.

In February 2016, Transport and Main Roads figures showed Pacific Motorway’s “peak-hour” stretched “four hours” from 5am to 9am.

New Transport and Main Roads travel time data shows a previous eight-minute trip over the eight kilometres between Beenleigh and Underwood now takes more than 18 minutes, an extra 10 minutes per trip, or 20 minutes per day.

Traffic is slowest between 6am and 8am each morning.

Cr Smith will use the federal government’s own figures, which show the cost of congestion is now around $1000 per motorist, to argue the extra money will be recouped over time.

Logan has a population of 308,000 people, Cr Smith said.

“Over the next 20 to 30 years we have an expectation of an extra 200,000 residents coming into the region,” Cr Smith said.

“We have two satellite cities being planned at the minute; Flagstone and Yarrabilba. Just those two areas alone have an extra 75,000 homes.”

He said traders were beginning to shift out of Logan because extra costs were hurting their businesses.

Logan will on Friday morning argue for improvements in four transport infrastructure areas to tackle population growth.

Cr Smith visited Parramatta City Council on Wednesday to see improvements in the past eight years.

“A lot of the things they are able to do is because they; the (federal) and state governments said, ‘Yes we agree with you, here is some key infrastructure’.”

Cr Smith said commuters should not have to travel to Brisbane to go to work. Logan wants the federal election candidates to fast-track:Pacific Motorway projects. The ALP has promised $168 million for one project.South-east Busway extension to the Logan Hyperdrome;Mt Lindesay highway widening projects;Commuter rail from Salisbury to Beaudesert;NBN optic fibre to the fast-growing region.

True Blue Glass at Loganholme now has three staff using a ‘traffic control room’ to find ways through crowded roads for the company’s fleet of 16 vehicles.

“It’s the only way we could stem the flow of money from the business, approximately $9000 a week. That includes loss of earnings, overtime incurred and extra fuel required,” business owner Bill Leavey said.

Griffith University traffic expert Matt Burke said bold thinking could deliver big benefits for the state.

“If we look at other cities like Boston, Washington and San Francisco, they’ve developed a hub for ‘knowledge jobs’. This eases the tidal flow of traffic and it creates centres of expertise that are now pulsating,” he said.

“You also see people making residential decisions based on how long it takes them to get to work. This could give us the congestion relief equivalent to three large tunnels in the city. It’s a much more efficient system.”

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