AECOM Australia – a leading global consultancy – has been selected for the task of identifying the preferred route and preparing the detailed ‘business case’ for the proposed Mackay Ring Road, with funding from the Gillard Labor Government’s new Regional Infrastructure Fund.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said this work, which needs to be completed before any funding for construction can be approved, should have been done long ago.
“Upon coming to office, we were surprised to discover that no route had been selected, no detailed planning had been done and no funding had been secured,” said Mr Albanese.
“As promised ahead of last year’s election, we’ve set aside $10 million to resolve these outstanding details and to get this long talked about project shovel ready. As part of this process there will be opportunities for the local community to have their say and I’d urge them to do so.
“We want to make sure this new piece of infrastructure fully reflects and properly supports the region’s rapid economic development. In short, the planning work which will occur over the next 18 months is all about putting in place a solution, not just for the next three years but for the next three decades.
“When it comes to nation building road infrastructure, Labor does what it says.”
The work to be undertaken by AECOM and completed by mid-2013 will deliver a detailed business case, identify a preferred route alignment, put an accurate price tag on the project and establish a realistic construction timetable.
Queensland Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace said the Ring Road was identified in the Bligh Labor Government’s Bruce Highway Upgrade Strategy and its Infrastructure Plan for delivery over the next five to ten years.
“The Mackay Ring Road will be the most significant project undertaken in the region, so it’s crucial we get the planning right,” said Mr Wallace.
“The case for this new infrastructure is made even stronger by predictions the City’s population will more than double to 147,000 by 2026 and is located in a region where billions of dollar worth of resource developments are underway or in the pipeline.
“In the meantime, work will continue on fixing Mackay’s more immediate infrastructure problems including the upgrading and widening of the Bruce Highway between Temples Lane and Boundary Road.”