Dec 23, 2010

Excellent progress being made on Cardwell Range realignment

Excellent progress being made on Cardwell Range realignment

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

Minister for Infrastructure & Transport

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

December 23 2010

Despite the early arrival of the wet season the $115 million project to flatten and straighten the Bruce Highway over the Cardwell Range is progressing well, with most of the new alignment cleared and some 25,000 tonnes of earth already removed.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said machinery weighing over 300 tonnes was also on site driving in the pilings which will become the foundation of the project’s centrepiece, a 180 metre long, high level viaduct on the northern side of the range.

“Construction of the viaduct – a bridge-like structure which will allow animals to move safely under the road – has already begun,” said Mr Albanese.

“In another sign of progress, blasting on the crest of the range has been underway for a number of weeks now. This process and the subsequent removal of some 180,000 tonnes of rock will reduce the steepness of the road.”

All up, more than 600,000 tonnes of soil and rock will be removed from along the new alignment of the Bruce Highway and stockpiled for use elsewhere on the project including for the creation of embankments.

Acting Main Roads Minister Rachel Nolan said the project team was making every effort to minimise the impact of this vital road upgrade on the natural environment.

“The project team has several environmental protection initiatives in place,” Ms Nolan said.

“There are specialist animal ‘spotter catchers’ on site tasked with removing and relocating any wildlife prior to the clearing of vegetation, including protected plant species such as ant plants, cycads and grass trees.

“What’s more, as part of the project nesting boxes for birds and Mahogany Gliders will be installed and extensive revegetation and rehabilitation will occur, particularly along the redundant sections of the existing road.”

The fully federally funded project will not only upgrade and realign four kilometres of highway, it will also build climbing lanes for heavy vehicles and an overpass of the Rungoo railway crossing.

Work is expected to be complete in mid 2012, weather permitting.