Dec 16, 2008

Highway upgrade improves wet season access in North Queensland

Highway upgrade improves wet season access in North Queensland

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

December 16 2008

North Queensland motorists are enjoying the benefits of a new 15.5-kilometre section of the Bruce Highway between Townsville and Cairns, just in time for this year’s wet season.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the $172.4 million Bruce Highway upgrade project at Tully was well ahead of the originally scheduled completion date of late 2009.

“The entire new alignment, which is 11 metres wide, is also up to 1.5 metres higher than the old highway in flood-prone sections to provide optimum flood immunity to motorists,” Mr Albanese said.

“It is now open to traffic approximately 10 months ahead of schedule, with only some line marking and resealing left to be completed in January.

“In addition to reducing flood closures, the new section of road is safer, with motorists driving on a wider and straighter sealed road with more opportunities for overtaking slower vehicles.

“The local community will also be pleased to see the construction of Lentini Road finished by Christmas. This completed section will provide a more direct connection for the Silky Oak and the Tully/Hull Heads communities to the new improved highway.”

Mr Albanese said the Tully project was one of a number of projects funded from the Accelerated Bruce Highway Upgrade Package, which would provide a series of flood and efficiency improvements on the highway between Townsville and Cairns.

“The delivery of this package is now well underway, with a number of projects complete or in the latter stages of construction,” he said.

“The benefits of the package will be far-reaching and all motorists – including truckies, tourists and the local community – will benefit from a safer and more efficient transport route between Townsville and Cairns.”

Queensland Main Roads Minister Warren Pitt visited Tully today to see first-hand the extent of progress.

“I would like to acknowledge the success of the Tully Alliance team, consisting of Main Roads, BMD, Albem and Maunsell AECOM, in delivering these milestones 10 months ahead of schedule,” Mr Pitt said.

“It is quite an achievement to be this far ahead of schedule, in one of the wettest areas in the country.

“This wet season, motorists travelling between Townsville and Cairns will benefit from the new highway at Tully and flood immunity works recently completed just south of Ingham.

“The local community can also be really proud of its contribution to this project.

“I would like to thank volunteers from the local community for donating their time to work alongside the Alliance team to plant trees and re-establish the environmental connectivity around the project site beside the Tully River.”

The project features a number of environmental initiatives, with strategically placed mahogany glider overpasses and cassowary crossings, along with fish passages through major culverts under the road.

A total of 42,000 native plant species have been planted to re-establish fauna connectivity along the project and guide wildlife to safe crossing areas.