May 21, 2013

Federal Budget delivers for the Bruce

Today I inspected progress on the upgrade of the Bruce Highway through the southern suburbs of Cairns and marked the completion of the southbound carriageway component of the new Ray Jones Overpass, a part of the unprecedented capital works program being rolled out along the length of this vital road.

This $150 million, fully-Federally funded project is realigning and widening the Highway between Ray Jones Drive and Sheehy Road.  It’s also removing three sets of traffic lights, improving safety around two level crossings and building a new interchange at the intersection with Sheehy Road.

Once completed later this year, these improvements will deliver faster, less congested driving conditions for the 55,000 motorists that use this 3.4 kilometre section of highway every day.

But Federal Labor knows there’s more to be done.

That’s why last week’s Federal Budget locked in our $4.1 billion, ten year plan for a better, safer Bruce Highway, which includes funding for the next stage in the upgrade of the road just south of the Cairns – widening of the section between Robert and Foster roads.

See attached maps.

Compared to the former Howard Government’s record, Federal Labor is investing more than four times as much in the Bruce Highway over a similar period of time, and in the coming financial year alone, we are delivering record annual funding of $637 million.

That’s real money for real projects that will make a real difference.

Over the next twelve months, work will begin on the following major upgrades:

  •  Duplication of the section between the Cooroy South interchange and Sankeys Road (also known as Section A).
    – Federal contribution: $395 million.
  • Duplication of the section between Vantassel Street and Cluden, south of Townsville.
    – Federal contribution: $110 million.
  • Construction of a new interchange at the existing intersections with Roys Road and Bells Creek Road, as well as the upgrade of the Boundary Road interchange.
    – Federal contribution: part of a $195 million package of works.
  • Construction of the final section of the Townsville Ring Road between Shaw Road and Mount Low.
    – Federal contribution: $160 million.

At the other end of the construction cycle, the following upgrades are due to be completed by the middle of next year:

  • Flattening and straightening the section over the Cardwell Range.
    – Federal contribution: $128.5 million.
  • Duplicating the section between Temples Lane and Boundary Road, just south of Mackay.
    – Federal contribution: $50 million.
  • Straightening and raising the section between Sandy Corner and Collinsons Lagoon.
    – Federal contribution: $50 million.
  • Straightening the section just south of Gin Gin and upgrading the intersection with the Bundaberg-Gin Gin Road.
    – Federal contribution: $20 million.
  • Erecting a new, higher bridge over the Yeppen Lagoon and the upgrading the roundabout at the intersection with the Capricorn Highway south of Rockhampton.
    – Federal contribution: $68 million.
  • Constructing a new interchange at the intersection with the Dawson Highway – the Calliope Crossroads – near Gladstone.
    – Federal contribution: $150 million.
  • Realigning and widening the section through Cairns’ southern suburbs between Ray Jones Drive and Sheehy Road.
    – Federal contribution: $150 million.
  • Repairing and upgrading the Burdekin River Bridge.
    – Federal contribution: $25 million.

Lastly, work will continue beyond the coming financial year on:

  • Straightening and widening the section from Cabbage Tree Creek to Carman Road, and across Back Creek Range.
    – Federal contribution: $80 million.
  • Upgrading the existing Pumicestone Road interchange including erecting a new, higher overpass over the Highway.
    – Federal contribution: part of a $195 million package of works.

Our sixth budget also continues the rollout of the first ever program dedicated to fixing dangerous black spots, providing more overtaking opportunities and improving driving conditions along the Highway.

Over the next 12 months, work will commence or finish on installing 39 new overtaking lanes, fixing 47 notorious black spots as well as building 16 new rest areas and upgrading 7 existing ones.

Federal Labor understands that infrastructure matters and when it comes to Queensland there is no more important road than the Bruce Highway.  And while progress over the last five years has been substantial, we have always said it would take more than one or two parliamentary terms to fix the years of neglect.

That’s why we have released a ten-year blueprint detailing the next round of targeted improvements and committed $5.7 billion to improving safety, cutting travel times, easing congestion and improving the Highway’s flood immunity.