Construction starts on Sandy Gully Bridge upgrade

Media Release

DC128/2016

27 September 2016

Joint release with:

Coralee O'Rourke

Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland

George Christensen

Federal Member for Dawson

A safer, more reliable Bruce Highway north of Bowen will soon be a reality following today's start of works on replacing the Sandy Gully Bridge and upgrading its approaches.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the $57 million bridge upgrade would deliver a road capable of remaining open in all but a one-in-50-year flood.

“Replacing this bridge and improving its flood immunity will help keep the highway open for all traffic, including heavy vehicles and other motorists accessing the Port of Abbot Point,” Mr Chester said.

“Making this section of the highway safer and more reliable will also benefit the rest of the state by keeping our freight trucks moving instead of being held up by flooded sections.”

Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland Coralee O'Rourke said the project, which will upgrade 3.7 kilometres of the Bruce Highway, was integral to supporting the North Queensland economy.

“These works will benefit the local economy—including our horticultural and tourism industries—by providing more reliable access between Bowen and Townsville, particularly during wet weather,” Mrs O'Rourke said.

“This section of highway forms an important link, and these upgrades will help to improve freight efficiency not only across the state, but also inter-state and nationally.”

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said the new bridge works would provide employment for more than 100 workers and improve efficiency for motorists.

“This section of the Bruce Highway floods regularly in bad weather and closures can seriously impact on drivers in the region,” Mr Christensen said.

“That includes locals and tourists, as well as workers supporting the mining industry and freight operators shifting agricultural produce, many of whom rely on timely delivery to remain competitive in domestic and international markets.

“It's also great to see Mackay based Vassallo Constructions carrying out these works, supporting jobs throughout the region.”

The Australian Government will provide $46 million to the Sandy Gully Bridge Upgrade, with the Queensland Government providing $11 million.

Construction is expected to be completed by March 2018, weather permitting.