After years of planning, extensive public consultations and the relocation of more than five million tonnes of earth—enough soil and rock to fill 2,000 Olympic swimming pools—the fully rebuilt section of the Bruce Highway between Cooroy and Curra will begin opening to traffic from this afternoon.
The southbound lanes will open at 2pm today, with the northbound lanes to follow early tomorrow morning.
As the nation’s first ever Infrastructure Minister, it has been a privilege to see this long-awaited project through from beginning to end. I was here in May 2009 to turn the first sod and now, just three and half years later, I am back to see the final product.
To mark the occasion, I was able to confirm the entire project will be completed before Christmas and well under-budget. This outcome is a tribute to the expertise and hard work of all those involved in delivering what has been a massive engineering project.
This progress is even more remarkable when you consider the fact that since the start of construction the region has received 4.5 metres of rainfall and experienced three major floods.
Indeed, just surfacing this 12 kilometre section of road required 160,000 tonnes of asphalt and 6,000 tonnes of concrete.
This project was funded by and will stand as a lasting legacy to Federal Labor’s successful Economic Stimulus Plan. Moreover, it is just one of many projects being delivered as part of our massive Bruce Highway capital works program.
In addition to the $388 million in Federal funding, the Queensland Government contributed a further $125 million. As well as realigning and duplicating the Highway, the project has also erected three bridges, built emergency stopping bays and installed the latest ‘smart’ road technology, including speed-activate variable message signs.
The project team will now focus on completing the project’s remaining elements, namely the new Mary Valley Link Road, the realignment of Traveston Road and the construction of the Traveston Interchange.