Bruce Highway to stay dry as flood resilience works progress

Media Release

DC200/2017

06 July 2017

Joint release with:

George Christensen

Federal Member for Dawson

Mark Bailey

Queensland Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports

Coralee O'Rourke

Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland

  • Contractors shortlisted to deliver the Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade project
  • Project to address the notorious flood-prone section and keep the highway open
  • Australian Government contributing up to $412 million and the Queensland Government $103 million
  • An average of 683 jobs to be supported over the life of the project

Two preferred tenderers have been shortlisted to deliver the $515 million project to upgrade the notoriously flood-prone Haughton River Floodplain section of the Bruce Highway, about 50 kilometres south of Townsville.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the Australian Government's $412 million commitment to the project would be funded under the 10-year, $8.5 billion Bruce Highway Upgrade Programme being delivered in partnership with the Queensland Government.

“This major project will address one of the worst flood-prone areas on the Bruce Highway, and in recognition of the urgent need to fix the problem, we are bringing the start of works forward nine months ahead of schedule to mid 2018,” Mr Chester said.

Queensland Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety Mark Bailey said the shortlisted contractors were Seymour Whyte-John Holland joint venture with AECOM and The Infrastructure Group joint venture between Bielby, BMD Constructions, JF Hull and Albem Pty Ltd with ARUP Group and HDR Inc.

“The shortlisted companies were selected after a thorough evaluation process, with particular focus placed on their plans for engaging local businesses and employees,” Mr Bailey said.

“Construction is expected to start in August 2018 with the two shortlisted companies now preparing design and construct tenders for the project.

“Local businesses now have the opportunity to get involved in one of the largest projects the region has seen and I encourage them to contact the two shortlisted companies.”

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said the upgrade would substantially improve safety and the year-round dependability of the highway.

“The works will replace the narrow Haughton River Bridge with a higher, wider bridge and upgrade around 14 kilometres of the highway where it crosses the floodplain between Ayr and Townsville. The new bridge will allow the Bruce Highway to remain open in all but the most severe floods, ensuring communities are not left stranded during extreme weather events,” Mr Christensen said.

“When completed, the works will give stock and freight carriers, tourism industry operators, tourists and locals the certainty they need to efficiently run their businesses and get on with their daily lives.

“Preliminary work to facilitate construction of a higher, wider and safer bridge over the Haughton River—a key part of this project—has already been undertaken with exploratory drilling works recently completed for the installation of the new bridge's foundations.

“It is expected that the contract for the project will be awarded in early 2018, with construction to mid 2018, weather permitting. The project is expected to be complete by mid-2021.”

Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland Coralee O'Rourke said North Queenslanders needed safe and reliable roads to keep the region moving, support local families and businesses and create more jobs for locals.

“I understand this bridge has caused huge inconveniences and delays for businesses transporting livestock and other goods, tourism operators, visitors and locals,” Mrs O'Rourke said.

“This investment to construct a higher, wider and safer bridge over the Haughton River will deliver greater certainty and security for our local road users.”

The Australian Government will provide up to $412 million, and the Queensland Government $103 million, to the $515 million project.