Construction of the $515 million Bruce Highway – Haughton River Floodplain upgrade project – south of Townsville has been brought forward nine months ahead of schedule, with tenders to be called this week.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the project was included in the Australian Government’s $50 billion infrastructure investment programme.
“The results of our spending on the highway are there for all to see – from new overtaking lanes and wider medians, to new interchanges, bridges and bypasses,” Mr Chester said.
“Floodproofing works such as these help keep north Queensland’s economy functioning during the wet season, which means job security for residents and dollars into the cash registers of local businesses. The Australian Government is investing up to $412 million in this project - money well spent when it comes to building a safer and more efficient Bruce Highway for everyone.
“Tenders for the design and construction of the project will be called for in early May, allowing the upgrade to commence construction nine months earlier than planned.”
Queensland Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports Mark Bailey said the Queensland Government had contributed $103 million to the joint project.
“A 14 kilometre section of the Bruce Highway – approximately 50 kilometres south of Townsville and 30 kilometres north of Ayr will be upgraded, including replacement of the narrow Haughton River Bridge,” Mr Bailey said.
“The upgrade will address one of the worst flooding spots on the Bruce Highway and we are committed to starting work as soon as possible.”
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said the acceleration of works on the Haughton River floodplain could not come soon enough.
“The replacement of the Haughton River Bridge has been voted the most urgent problem to be fixed on this stretch of the Bruce Highway between Mackay and Townsville,” Mr Christensen said.
“Flooding at the Haughton severely impacts this thoroughfare for days on end, with floodwaters sometimes extending five kilometres south and nine kilometres north of the Haughton River Bridge.
“It’s essential that roads stay open during flooding so communities stay connected, and the ability to potentially bring this work forward by almost a year is a great win for the people of the Burdekin and Townsville regions.
“It’s great to see rapid progress being made on the project, with extensive hydrological modelling, geotechnical and environmental investigations done, along with ongoing consultation with landowners.”
Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland Coralee O’Rourke said construction was expected to commence mid-2018 and is scheduled for completion mid-2021, weather permitting.
“Roads are vital to keep our region connected and these works will improve access for industry, freight and tourism, as well as rural communities in the Burdekin Shire to access essential services in Townsville,” Ms O’Rourke said.
The Haughton River Floodplain upgrade is a jointly funded project with the Australian Government providing up to $412 million and the Queensland Government $103 million.