Bruce Highway's diamond in the rough
Work is now underway on an Australian-first engineering solution for the Bruce Highway Upgrade between Caloundra Road and the Sunshine Motorway.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said the first of 36 concrete bridge piles were recently completed for the nation's first Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI).
“Around Australia the Liberal and Nationals' Government is investing in our roads to ensure people can get home sooner and safer, as well as providing a boost to productivity,” Mr McCormack said.
“The Federal Government is pleased to be supporting this critical Bruce Highway upgrade to alleviate congestion and reduce crashes. This project is just one part of the $10 billion Federal Government investment to the Bruce Highway Upgrade Program.”
The bridge piles, each about 17 metres long, will support two new bridges that will create the DDI—a design that will revolutionise the way large traffic volumes are managed.
Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said the innovative design would reduce the number of vehicle conflict points and the potential for crashes by widening the highway to six lanes, along with major upgrades to the interchanges.
“Motorists traveling over the Bruce Highway will seamlessly cross over from the left carriageway to the right side, and then back again, with traffic movements controlled by synchronised signals at each end of the Caloundra Road interchange,” Mr Bailey said.
“Not only will the DDI improve traffic flows between the Bruce Highway, Steve Irwin Way and Caloundra Road, it will also significantly minimise environmental impacts and improve active transport connections.”
Queensland Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the project team worked closely with Australia Zoo to incorporate into the design any impacts to the monument of Queensland icon Steve Irwin.
“Steve Irwin Way was named to honour the late great legend and it's important visitors understand the legacy he left for not only Queensland, but the world,” Ms Jones said. “This project will make it easier for both locals and visitors to get around this stunning part of the state.”
Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace said DDIs had been used with great success overseas, mainly in the United States, with almost 100 now operational worldwide.
“In Australia, the DDI is an emerging interchange design that responds to increasing demands for different ways of managing large traffic volumes and it is exciting that the Sunshine Coast is at the forefront of innovative engineering solutions for such a major road project,” Mr Wallace said.
Federal Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien said the Australian and Queensland governments was committed to delivering the infrastructure the Sunshine Coast needed to reduce congestion and improve road safety.
“The interchange will progressively open during the construction period to enable the removal of the existing Caloundra Road overpass bridge. The DDI will be fully operational when the two new bridges are open and operating in conjunction with new on and off ramps at the interchange,” Mr O'Brien said.
Construction is expected to be completed in late 2020, weather permitting.
The $812.95 million Bruce Highway—Caloundra Road to Sunshine Motorway project is funded on an 80:20 basis with the Australian Government contributing $650.36 million and the Queensland Government contributing $162.59 million.
For more information on the project please visit www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Projects/Name/B/Bruce- Highway-Caloundra-Road-to-Sunshine-Motorway-upgrade.