The $500 million Haughton River Floodplain upgrade project has hit another milestone, with traffic on the Bruce Highway switched to a new bridge and road surface at Giru.
This final section is in addition to the 10.5km of new highway alignment already being used by truckies on the busy Queensland freight route.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said it was one of the last milestones of the project, which is due to be completed later this year.
“North Queenslanders are all too familiar with flooding closing the Bruce Highway over the Reed Beds area, with this section of highway typically closing every couple of years during the wet season, forcing transport operators and the travelling public to wait for waters to recede,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“Traffic across the national network is now using a safer, more flood resilient crossing of the Reed Beds area.
“The Australian Government, in conjunction with the Queensland Government, has resolved this issue with the existing low-lying road replaced with a bridge, which is much more resilient to flooding.
“The Bruce Highway alignment across the Reed Beds was also reconfigured to improve safety.
Joyce said today’s switch means traffic is now using all 13.5km of new or upgraded highway.
Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said the project built on other upgrades underway on the Bruce Highway.
“The Queensland Government is delivering a record $17.8 billion in regional roads and transport over the next four years, as well as more than 100 projects on the Bruce Highway in the pipeline,” Bailey said.
“As a key connector for locals in the regions, and the backbone of Queensland’s freight industry, delivering upgrades on the Bruce Highway is a priority.
“Right now, a $481 million upgrade is underway on the Bruce Highway from Edmonton to Gordonvale in Cairns, which is supporting 466 jobs.
“And, we have $50 million in safety upgrades being delivered between Mackay and Proserpine.
Bailey said the focus at Giru will now be on completing local connection roads and demolishing existing bridges and road.
“Over the coming weeks, we’ll also finalise the highway on and off ramps to Hodel Road and Shirbourne Road, so local access can be reinstated.”
The $514.34 million Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade project is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments on an 80:20 basis, representing commitments of $411.47 million and $102.87 million, respectively.
The project is due to be completed later this year.