Jan 21, 2010

First stage of Townsville Port Access Road to open to traffic

First stage of Townsville Port Access Road to open to traffic

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

January 21 2010

An important milestone has been reached on the Townsville Port Access Road project, with the 2.5 kilometre Stuart Bypass set to open to traffic tomorrow (22 January) and take up to 500 trucks a day off local roads.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace today visited the site to see first-hand the completed stage of the jointly funded project.

“The completion of the first stage of the $190 million Townsville Port Access Road is vitally important for industry across the region – providing a dedicated heavy vehicle link between the Bruce Highway and the Flinders Highway,” said Mr Albanese.

“Once stage two, the Eastern Access Corridor, is complete, the road will directly link the Flinders and Bruce highways to the Port of Townsville, one of the State’s largest industrial ports and an important driver of economic growth in north Queensland.

Mr Wallace said residents of Stuart and Wulguru would immediately experience benefits from the opening the Stuart Bypass, with up to 500 heavy vehicles a day removed from local roads.

“By enabling heavy vehicles to bypass these residential areas, local congestion and connectivity will improve, along with noise and air quality,” said Mr Wallace.

“The project team has done a fantastic job in completing this vital stage of the project and we now await the completion of stage two, the Eastern Access Corridor, which is progressing to schedule.

“The project is also protecting local jobs, with an average of 960 direct and indirect jobs sustained over the life of the entire Townsville Port Access Road project.”

Mr Albanese and Mr Wallace also announced today that a contractor was close to being announced on the jointly funded $110 million Douglas Arterial Duplication project.

“As work on one major project comes to an end, activity on another is gearing up, reflecting our shared commitment to building long term infrastructure and protecting local jobs,” said Mr Albanese.

“In fact, thanks to our decision to bring forward the necessary funding in our Economic Stimulus Plan this entire project will now be completed in early 2012.

“The upgrade will create around 448 direct and indirect jobs, and increase a current two-lane section of the Townsville Ring Road to four lanes. Once completed, the new road will better support the region’s fast growing population and traffic volumes.”

A contractor is expected to be appointed next month, with major construction ramping up in mid-2010, weather permitting.

Mr Wallace commended the steady work to date on the major transport infrastructure projects being built across the Townsville region.

“Projects like the Townsville Ring Road, Port Access Road and Douglas Arterial Duplication demonstrate the commitment of the Rudd and Bligh Labor governments to delivering world-class transport infrastructure in north Queensland,” said Mr Wallace.

“By improving the roads that link existing freight routes with key export facilities, such as the Port of Townsville, we are supporting the productivity and prosperity of both the Queensland and national economies.”