Countdown starts for Yeppen South Bridge to take traffic

Media Release

WT247/2015

26 July 2015

Motorists will be able to use the new 1.6 kilometre Yeppen South bridge by the end of this week, marking a major milestone for the $170 million Yeppen Floodplain Upgrade project.

Inspecting the closing stages of works today, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the structure was scheduled to open to traffic on Friday, weather permitting.

“The bridge has been built above the one-in-100-year flood level, making it higher than all recorded floodwaters for the region, including the 1918 Rockhampton flood where the Fitzroy River peaked at more than 10 metres,” Mr Truss said.

“It is also the longest bridge on the Bruce Highway, and will be instrumental in keeping traffic high and dry during flood events. It is another example of the Australian Government's focus on improving flood immunity, safety and productivity on the highway.”

Queensland Main Roads and Roads Safety Minister Mark Bailey said the bridge would be used for two-way traffic until the expected completion of the full 2.8 kilometre Yeppen Floodplain Upgrade project early next year.

“Once the project is finished, it will become a two-lane northbound bridge, with southbound traffic using the two lanes of the existing low-level highway,” Mr Bailey said.

“In times of flood, the low-level highway will close and all traffic will use the new bridge, with one lane southbound and one northbound.”

Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said another 500-metre bridge is under construction at the northern end of the project.

“When both bridges are complete we will have a duplicated four-lane Bruce Highway south of Rockhampton, providing immediate traffic improvements and capacity to keep traffic flowing for the next 20 years and beyond,” Ms Landry said.

“This part of the Bruce Highway is essential to moving tourists, food, commodities and freight north and south between Brisbane and Cairns, so is vital to keeping the economy going during river rises.”

Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said the Yeppen project was crucial to the local, state and national economies.

“The project is an innovative, cost-saving solution to double highway capacity and provide flood immunity and, once complete, it will help businesses keep their doors open during floods,” Mr O'Dowd said.

Member for Rockhampton Bill Byrne welcomed progress in the upgrade and said he was looking forward to its completion.

“This is a significant investment in the local community and I'm pleased the Australian and Queensland Governments are working together to deliver the project,” Mr Byrne said.

The $170 million Yeppen Floodplain Upgrade project is jointly funded, with the Australian Government providing $136 million and the Queensland Government providing $34 million to the project.