Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is promising truckies a safer and more flood resilient passage on the Bruce Highway between Ayr and Townsville after officially opening major upgrades on that section this week.
The federal and state governments have spent $514.34m in an 80/20 split on building five bridges, two cane rail overpasses, intersection upgrades and the installation of wide centre line treatments to reduce head-on crashes.
Typically, floodwaters force the closure of the Bruce Highway at the Haughton River Bridge every one to two years.
But now the project is complete, the severity and frequency of highway closures due to flooding is expected to be greatly reduced.
“Travelling between Ayr and Townsville you will notice the old, narrow Haughton River Bridge is entirely gone,” added Palaszczuk.
“There are new bridges in previously flood-prone areas, and all of the intersections with the Bruce Highway in this area have been made safer.”
Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King said the project will reduce the frequency and duration of road closures due to flooding on the Bruce Highway at Horseshoe Lagoon, Haughton River, Pink Lily and the Reed Beds.
Minister for Resources and Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the project had greatly improved the flood resilience of the Bruce Highway at Giru.
“Low-lying and flood prone bridges over the Haughton River, Pink Lily Lagoon and Horseshoe Lagoon were replaced with higher, wider and more flood resilient infrastructure,” he said.
“The old, narrow Haughton River Bridge was a safety concern as it was only 6.2 metres wide and no longer had rails due to previous strikes and debris inundation.
“The new bridge, which also now includes rails for safety, is 10 metres wide and 40 metres longer than the one it replaced.
“Two bridges were also built over previously flood-prone and heavily culverted sections of highway near Piralko Road and the Reed Beds.”
Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said the works also included the widening of 13.5 kilometres along the Bruce Highway.
“This meant they could construct one-metre-wide separations between lanes to reduce the likelihood of head-on collisions, making it safer,” he said.
“Sadly in my former career as a paramedic I’ve seen some tragedies on our roads so upgrades like this are very important.”