Sippy Downs - Scholars Drive Link
  • Last updated:
  • 01 Aug 2022

A new dual-purpose transport link funded by the Australian Government's Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program is proposed for construction in Sippy Downs. This new link will alleviate traffic congestion on Scholars Drive at school peak hours and enable pedestrian and cyclists to enjoy the use of the link outside of these times. This project will improve traffic efficiency in and around the school precinct.

Project scope

Scholars Drive Link is a three metre-wide, dual-purpose concrete pathway linking Scholars Drive to the roundabout at the intersection of Varsityview Court and Parkville Street, Sippy Downs. The link provides for one-way light vehicle access during school pick-up and drop-off times - between 7am to 9am and 2pm to 4pm - during the Queensland school term. The link could operate for as little as 30 minutes morning and afternoon. 

Vehicle speed will be restricted to 20km/hr and boom gates will stop vehicles using the link outside these times.

Scholars Drive Link will be permanently open for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy the use of the link outside of vehicle use periods. Low-level bollard style lighting and security cameras will be installed along the path for safety.

Project update

Construction of the Scholars Drive Link commenced on 4 May 2022 and was due for completion by 30 June 2022, weather and site conditions permitting. Between the 6th and the 26th of May, the site received more than five times the average rainfall Sippy Downs usually experiences at that time of the year, which created some challenges for construction progress.

Most civil construction, electrical, security, and landscaping works will be delivered by the first week of July, with some site set up works to follow.

The Link is expected to be open to the community by mid-July which will help alleviate traffic congestion on Scholars Drive at school peak hours and enable pedestrian and cyclists to enjoy the use of the link outside of these times.

The Project team will continue to update the Sippy Downs community as required throughout the duration of the project’s construction.

Overview

Scholars Drive Link has been designed and certified by a Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ) and Senior Road Safety Auditor under a Safe Systems Approach.

Construction will involve:

  • improving drainage
  • minor vegetation clearing
  • construction of the three-metre wide concrete path
  • installation of boom gates, line marking and appropriate signage
  • lighting and CCTV installation for safety
  • additional landscaping.

View the Finalised Work Plan Package[15260KB].

It is estimated that vehicles will have temporary access to the link for a maximum period of eight years. New traffic signals at the University Way and Scholars Drive intersection are planned to be constructed by private developers (AVID property group) in 2028. After the estimated temporary access period for vehicles concludes, it’s currently planned for the link to revert to a pedestrian and cycle path through the university grounds.

A Kangaroo Survey and Habitat Assessment was completed as part of the project. The objective of this Survey and Assessment[1037KB] were to:

  • assess habitat value of the works corridor for the proposed Link
  • determine potential impacts to the Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) population in the vicinity as a result of the proposed works
  • recommend mitigation and management actions that address and manage risks to the existing kangaroo population within the vicinity, including risks associated with vegetation clearing, earthworks, impacts to habitat areas and fauna rescue provisions.

The survey and assessment found that the corridor does not contain significant habitat features for other native fauna, however Eastern Grey Kangaroo’s may use the grassy area for foraging and movement at times. In addition to this, the grassy area within the proposed works corridor was found to contain sub-optimum grazing (unwatered turf) for kangaroo’s and the removal of this limiting resource would not directly impact the kangaroo population on site. Higher quality foraging habitat exists within the campus grounds, identifying enough habitat to cover almost twice the current population.

Council is working with relevant stakeholders to ensure the design of the link mitigates any risks to kangaroos i.e. reduced speeds, limited opening times, appropriate signage, and landscaping measures.

A fauna manager will be onsite during relevant construction periods such as the site establishment and grubbing. The fauna management plan will be in place and adequate measures implemented to exclude kangaroos from the site.

An independent road safety audit was also completed as part of the project with a focus on the areas of:

  • Parkville Street
  • Columbia Street
  • the proposed design for Scholars Drive Link
  • school access from Scholars Drive to Columbia/Parkville Streets.

The road safety audit was commissioned to include a thorough analysis of the initial design with the intent of mitigating any design issues and assess all aspect s of the links design. The audit outlined a series of recommendations to Council for review. Recommendations can be separated into short  and long-term considerations dependant on the scope of works and capital cost associated with each recommendation. The Scholars Drive Link design has been updated to incorporate recommendations relative to its design and functionality. Council’s Traffic Infrastructure Management Team are working to undertake short-term operational improvements within the surrounding road network as recommended by the audit. Council will be working to implement these on a priority basis where the road safety risk may be greatest.

Road safety audits considers factors such as parking arrangements, road alignment, intersection improvements, pedestrian safety, signage improvements, lighting, line marking, pavement condition, pathway availability, vehicle speeds etc. They are a good instrument to provide councils  and communities with a foundation of where risks truly lie from a high-level technical standpoint, rather than where they may be perceived, and bring more confidence to traffic management decisions and future planning.

Background

Traffic congestion in the local area is untenable with the Australian, Queensland and local governments exploring options to ease congestion over the past 15 years. The Scholars Drive Link is considered the most efficient and cost-effective temporary solution to help school peak hour traffic congestion, and will provide a community asset with the pedestrian and cyclists link for residents and visitors of Sippy Downs and USC.

Scholars Drive Link will be built on state government owned land and has the in-principle support of the University of the Sunshine Coast and Chancellor State College. This project also has the support of the Chancellor Safe School Travel (SafeST) group which includes members of the school community, P&C, school executive, local State and Federal MP's, Divisional Councillor, Department of Education staff and council officers.

In response to the communities' desire to see traffic congestion along Scholars Drive improved, council investigated four other options in addition to the Scholars Drive Link including:

  • signalising the University Way, Scholars Drive and Springhill Drive intersection
  • Beaverbrook Circuit Drainage Reserve
  • opening the Public Transport Only Green Link to Small Vehicle Access
  • school Stop, Drop and Go Zone.

Please refer to the Background and Traffic Report[524KB] for full details.

Contacts

If you require additional information regarding this project, or wish to speak to a member of the project team, please call (07) 5475 7272 or email: ScholarsDriveLink@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au - reference P-H4223.