A safer Bruce Highway around Townsville

Media Release

WT118/2015

29 April 2015

Joint release with:

Mark Bailey

Queensland Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports

George Christensen

Federal Member for Dawson

Aaron Harper

Member for Thuringowa

Ewen Jones

Federal Member for Herbert

Completion of the $137.5 million upgrade to Townsville's stretch of the Bruce Highway is one step closer, with an overpass of the North Coast Rail Line at Cluden officially opened today.

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen joined Federal Member for Herbert Ewen Jones and Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper at Cluden today to celebrate the opening of the overpass.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the upgrade is part of the Australian Government's $6.7 billion investment in fixing the Bruce Highway.

“We are building a newer, higher and wider Bruce Highway that will cut freight costs, reduce road closures due to flooding and improve safety for all road users,” Mr Truss said.

Member for Dawson George Christensen said the overpass opened to traffic last week.

“Being four lanes, the overpass will improve driver safety and traffic flow by eliminating the existing level crossing at Cluden,” Mr Christensen said.

“In another major milestone for the project, the new southbound Stuart Creek Bridge has also been opened to traffic and work is almost complete on the Hunter Street intersection upgrade.”

Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports Minister Mark Bailey said the project remained on track for completion in the middle of 2015.

“Thanks to some great weather and a lot of hard work, the team has made significant progress over the past few months. As a result, we've been able to open up several sections of the new highway to traffic,” Mr Bailey said.

Mr Jones said crews are now focused on completing major works at the northern end of the project, including Stuart Drive, as well as the Abbott Street interchange.

“Motorists can expect to see continued changes along the highway over the coming months as we head towards the finish line for this project,” Mr Jones said.

“Work has also started across town on the final section of the Townsville Ring Road. Around $200 million will be spent in completing the final 22 kilometres of the Townsville Ring Road to provide a high-speed freight bypass and improve travel times for our industries.”

Mr Harper said the project will be a long term asset to North Queensland's economy.

“Combined, the duplication from Vantassel Street to Cluden and the completion of the Townsville Ring Road will deliver long-term infrastructure needed for continued economic growth in North Queensland,” Mr Harper said.

“As an added bonus, we're providing 518 direct jobs for workers at a time when jobs and job security are more important than ever.”

The Vantassel to Cluden upgrade of the Bruce Highway is jointly funded by $110 million from the Australian Government and $27.5 million from the Queensland Government.