News, Queensland, Road upgrades

Palmerston Highway reopens to trucks

The Palmerston Highway in Far North Queensland has reopened to all traffic, including heavy vehicles, as of Saturday.  

Considerable restoration works are yet to be completed, but a single lane is now allowing access to the key freight route into the Tablelands.  

The highway had suffered significant landslips and pavement failures due to intense rainfall associated with ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper.  

Urgent works on a single lane section began on January 8, after the hill stopped moving and the ground had dried enough to allow construction.  

Crews from the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) laid a fresh seal over a temporary track single lane between Crawford’s Lookout and Junction Road earlier this week.  

Works included excavating 4200 tonnes of earth, installing 5400 tonnes of rock and laying 1500 tonnes of road base and 150 tonnes of asphalt. Crews also installed 60 lengths of stormwater pipe. 

Construction was jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).  

Transport and Main Roads minister Bart Mellish said crews had put in an “enormous effort” to reopen the freight route. 

“TMR understands the impact that damage to the Palmerston Highway has had on heavy vehicle operators, the agricultural sector and Tablelands residents and businesses. 

“These works were conducted in a complex and challenging environment that included the only full width pavement slips on state-controlled roads in Far North District. 

“The damage was significant – the entire hill with the road on it had sunk two metres and shifted two metres sidewards down the hill.

He said that although heavy rain did postpone works, TMR crews went above and beyond to safely complete works and ease pressure on the state-controlled road network. 

“The single lane will accommodate all traffic including heavy vehicles and TMR will continue to investigate long term solutions for repairs to the Palmerston Highway,” he added. 

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