Residents and visitors of Coolum Beach and the neighbouring Marcoola area have spent the past few months watching their main streets transformed into construction zones as major streetscaping works have progressed.
But, their patience will be well and truly rewarded by Christmas, with both projects on track to wrap up in time for the start of the all-important Christmas trading period.
Stage Four of the Coolum Village Streetscape Project is now approximately six weeks away from the expected completion date of Friday 14th December, with traders and their customers receiving praise for their patience as major concreting and footpath restoration works continue in front of their stores.
The $4.1M project involves streetscape upgrades to the majority of David Low Way between Beach Road and Birtwill Street, including road and drainage upgrades, new footpaths, street trees and gardens, lighting, furniture and artworks.
Stages one, two and three of the project have already been completed and Stage Four works, which commenced in July this year, are focusing on the main Esplanade area from the Coolum Holiday Park entry along David Low Way to Park Street, including Tickle Park car park and road frontage.
A new roundabout at the intersection of David Low Way and Elizabeth Street Works has been completed, along with a reconfiguration of the Tickle Park car park, Park Street upgrades and ongoing footpath upgrades along the Esplanade shopping strip.
Intensive concrete works required a week-long closure of Park St, while extensive footpath work and the construction of stone, pitched seating walls continues along much of the David Low Way/Esplanade area, with council erecting temporary walkways to affected businesses.
Project Manager Adam Stewart has praised the patience of traders and residents, saying the works had been progressing well with the favourable weather conditions.
“This stage four works started just after the June/July school holidays and the weather’s been on our side which is a key part of it and why we selected this part of the year as well,” Mr Stewart said.
“This last couple of months are going to be the big push to get it all done and that’s why we are working in so many different areas at the one time.”
While council have continuously worked to minimise the construction impact and noise, Mr Stewart advised that some night works continue to be necessary in order to complete road resurfacing.
Although under traffic control in the interests of construction team and pedestrian safety, the David Low Way will remain open to traffic at all times, with the next night-time road resurfacing works scheduled for tonight (Mon 5 November, 5-10pm), Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 November (6pm-3am).
Mr Stewart expects most of the current shop frontage footpath works to be completed within the next couple of weeks, when workers will then focus on installing new seating decks around garden areas, finishing kerbworks and continuing with the major works of installing a centre planted median strip along the Esplanade before road resurfacing can be completed.
Upcoming works will also include the installation of two new bus shelters and the somewhat emotional demolition of an older besser-block bus shelter in front of Tickle Park.
The colourful shelter has divided the local community in the past, with many expressing their desire to keep the historic icon in place, while others look forward to its demolition after having labelled it an ‘eyesore’.
Just down the road from the council works, the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) is completing the final length of a $750,000 on-road cycle lane from Coolum to Havanna Rd East, which began in May.
Works on the remaining David Low Way cycle link between Ann Street and the Stumers Creek Bridge began in mid-October and are anticipated to be finished within the next couple of weeks.
Night works have commenced at the site, and drivers are advised that intersection and lane closures will apply, with reduced speed limits, signage and diversion routes in place.
In Marcoola, Stage Two of the $3M Suncoast Boulevard Streetscape Revitalisation Project is nearing completion, with stage one having been completed in late 2011.
So far, works have involved the permanent closure of the eastern end of Lexie Street to create a new ‘Marcoola Village Square’ which when completed, will include new street furniture such as seating, bicycle parking and a drinking fountain along with turfed areas, natural shade (from trees), lighting, new gardens, native tree planting and integrated public artwork.
An announcement last week has seen Marcoola Community Bank Branch of Bendigo Bank donate $20,000 towards the street art project, which will be added to $10,000 contributed by other local businesses and residents and a $50,000 allocation from the council.
This week’s final round of night-time road resurfacing works, scheduled for tonight (Mon 5 November) and Tues 6 Nov from 6pm–6am will essentially signal an end of all major Stage Two roadworks along Suncoast Boulevard.
Landscaping works will however continue until mid December, creating create an attractive, safe and connected coastal village centre, with a shady beachside atmosphere.
The third and final stage of the Suncoast Boulevard Streetscape project is scheduled for 2018, subject to future funding and Department of Main Roads’ approval.
Full details of the Coolum Streetscape Project can be found online at tiny.cc/5lx59, where you can also find a link to the Suncoast Boulevard project.