Apr 20, 2009

New bridge over Mulgrave River opens to traffic

New bridge over Mulgrave River opens to traffic

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

April 20 2009

The new bridge over the Mulgrave River opened to traffic today, eight months ahead of schedule, Federal Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Anthony Albanese and Queensland Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace announced today.

Mr Albanese said the opening of the new $48 million bridge at Gordonvale was well ahead of the originally scheduled date of December 2009.

“The early delivery of this vital piece of road infrastructure is a significant achievement for the far north,” Mr Albanese said.

“The new 480 metre-long bridge is part of the Rudd Government’s commitment to improving flood immunity and accessibility between Cairns and Townsville.

“Standing five metres higher than the existing bridge and located on a better road alignment, this bridge is an excellent example of the Federal Government’s commitment to improving connectivity in the far north.”

Mr Albanese said the new bridge was just one component of the Australian Government’s $348 million Accelerated Bruce Highway Upgrade Package.

“The series of works, as part of this package, are designed to improve flood immunity on the Bruce Highway and reduce the duration of road closures in the region due to wet season flooding,” he said.

“This program has allowed both state and federal governments to co-operate to make the Bruce Highway safer and more flood immune.”

State Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said the Cairns community had been eagerly anticipating the opening of the new bridge following a successful community day held last month to celebrate the new bridge.

As part of celebrations, Mr Pitt joined Federal Member for Leichhardt Jim Turnour, Minister Wallace and members of the local Gordonvale community for a fun day of festivities to commemorate the new bridge.

“There has been a real sense of excitement about the completion of the bridge among the local Gordonvale community,” Mr Pitt said.

“This was evident at the community fun day, with more than 500 people attending celebrations and walking over the entire length of the bridge.

Mr Wallace said opening the bridge to traffic early was a major milestone in the fast-tracked progression of the vital infrastructure project.

“This project has also provided employment benefits for the region, with about 390 direct and indirect jobs sustained over the life of the entire project,” Mr Wallace said.

Remaining works to be completed as part of the Mulgrave River bridge project include a new connection from Griffin Street to the existing highway, completion of the realignment of the cane railway and improved access to Greenpatch rest area.

The entire project is due to be completed by June, weather permitting.

Mr Wallace said members of the community would now have the chance to name the new bridge over the Mulgrave River as part of Main Roads’ Q150 bridge naming festivities.

“Far north Queenslanders will this year help celebrate Queensland’s 150th birthday by suggesting names for four new local bridges on the Bruce Highway between Gordonvale and Tully, including the new bridge at the Mulgrave River,” he said.

“The state’s 150th birthday is an important milestone for all Queenslanders and we want to involve the community in the celebrations.”

Submissions to name the four new local bridges will close on 1 May.

For more information about the Q150 celebrations visit http://www.q150.qld.gov.au or phone (07) 4050 5434.