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THE builders of the $1.2 billion light rail system will today lay the final piece of the track, marking a major milestone in the city's biggest transport project.
The 13km track runs from Parkwood to Broadbeach, with the last concrete pour planned for Surfers Paradise Boulevard at 12pm.
GoldLinQ will lay the final section of track after 30,000km of underground services was upgraded and relocated along the corridor.
CEO Phil Mumford said the team was relieved to have the track finished this year as the system moves full steam ahead towards taking passengers next June.
The Light Rail project is now laying the final pieces of the track. GoldLinQ CEO Phil Mumford on the track ready to lay the last section in Surfer Paradise. Phil Mumford, Brian Maquire (Rail Supervisor) and Peter Quinn (Track Setter). Pics Scott Fletcher Source: News Limited
"The heavy lift of the project is done and now we will concentrate on the landscaping and pavements, as well as the construction of the stations," said Mr Mumford.
"The 52 intersections are complete, and 2500 welds and more than 2.5 million worth of man hours have gone into this already," he said.
He said despite speculation over the project's ability to meet its deadline, fuelled following a bitter battle with the city council over the completion of the Southport Bridge, it would be operational on time and on budget.
The last six trams are on their way from Europe, while the ones already at the Southport depot will start testing over the bridge and into Surfers Paradise by March.
From April, the trams will run along the route to schedule before passengers jump on board on June 1.
Concrete finisher Steve Tate hard at work putting the finishing touches the track in Surfers Paradise. Pics Scott Fletcher Source: News Limited
Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the project had come a long way this year.
"Heavy rail track completion is celebrated with a symbolic 'golden spike' hammered in," he said.
"With light rail, the track is encased in concrete, which is a different process, but just as significant - this is this final pour of concrete in Surfers Paradise for the project.
"I look forward to seeing the first passengers get on board next year once all tram testing and commissioning has been completed."
Over the past 18 months rail crews have laid 2800 tonnes of track.
City of Gold Coast Deputy Mayor Donna Gates said the final concrete pour was a historical milestone.
This article first appeared on www.theaustralian.com.au
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