Contract awarded for Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade

One of North Queensland's most significant Bruce Highway upgrades is a step closer with a design and construction contract awarded today for the Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said the project would improve safety and flood resilience by upgrading 13.5 kilometres of highway, including realigning the Reed Beds curve and building a new Haughton River Bridge and several other wider, higher bridges.

“The project also includes upgrading nine rural intersections, two cane-rail overpasses and installing wide centrelines on the highway north of Ayr,” Mr McCormack said.

“The works will improve the safety and reliability of this section of the highway for residents of Townsville, regional visitors and road freight operators servicing the tourism and other industries in the region.”

Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said the new Haughton River Bridge would be more than 10 metres wide and designed and built to withstand a one-in-100-year flood.

“This upgrade will be a significant improvement on the current bridge, which is about seven metres wide and is regularly closed for extended periods due to flooding,” Mr Bailey said.

“An average of 544 direct jobs will be supported over the life of the project and contractors have been asked to demonstrate their commitment to engaging local employees and businesses.”

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said careful planning had been done to reduce flood-related closures and minimise impacts on nearby houses and farms.

“Making sure Giru residents downstream of the project are not impacted by the works is a high priority,” Mr Christensen said.

“Locals are familiar with this area's flooding issues which occur every two years on average and can last for more than four days in severe weather. In fact, heavy rain caused an 18-hour closure earlier this month.”

The upgrades will be designed and built by The Infrastructure Group joint venture between Bielby, BMD Constructions, JF Hull and Albem Pty Ltd with ARUP Group and HDR Inc. Construction of the project will start in mid-2018 and be completed by around mid-2021, weather permitting.

The Australian Government has committed up to $411.4 million to the project with the Queensland Government contributing $102.9 million.