Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has given an update on the Rockhampton Ring Road in Queensland, describing it as a “priority” for the federal government.
The large-scale project, which will cost more than $1.5bn in total, has been on the table for over a decade.
It involves the construction of a new 18km section of the Bruce Highway, west of Rockhampton, with key linkages into the city at the Capricorn Highway, Ridgelands Road, Alexandra Street and Yaamba Road (Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road).
Funding cuts led to the commencement of construction being delayed, with the entire project currently not expected to be completed until approximately 2030-2031.
Early works are now underway ahead of the start of construction, including moving some buildings that are in the path of the route.
In a recent interview with local radio station 4RO Rockhampton, Albanese would not confirm a completion date for the ring road, only saying he hoped it would be “as soon as possible”.
“We want to get on with it to make sure that it gets done efficiently,” he said.
“We know that this has been spoken about for a long period of time.
“When I was the Infrastructure Minister, we did some of the planning work more than a decade ago, but now it’s off and running.
“We got to do all of the work on the Yeppen Floodplain, the approaches to the south of Rocky there, which have made an enormous difference.
“And this will make a very big difference.”
He described the rocky Ring Road as an “exciting project” that will reduce travel times for truck drivers.
“The [ring road] will divert around 2600 heavy vehicle movements every single day away from the CBD there of Rocky and away from suburban roads.
“And that’s good for productivity, it’s good for reducing travel times for the freight industry, but importantly as well, it makes local roads safer for families and for workers getting around every day.”
He confirmed that the funding is locked in, and blamed the former government for budget cuts.
“My government committed a further $347.5 million in our last budget.
“This is a major project. It will cost more than one and a half billion dollars.
“The funding wasn’t there from the former government. It was massively underfunded. We want to make sure that it’s going and indeed it is.”