Construction has begun on the $189.2million Eton Range realignment project on the Peak Downs Highway, Queensland, which involves a split carriageway and widening the highway to four lanes.
Fulton Hogan has been awarded the construction contract for the project.
Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash said the project is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to improve safety on the link between Clermont and Mackay.
“More than 4,000 vehicles pass through the Eton Range each day and of those 800 are heavy vehicles,” Ms Nash said.
“The Peak Downs Highway is also the only designated B-double route from west of Mackay to the Northern Bowen Basin, servicing the communities of Nebo, Moranbah, Clermont, Dysart and Middlemount.”
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said as part of the realignment, the split carriageway and widening to four lanes will reduce the need to close the range to oversized vehicles.
“This will result in fewer delays for motorists and a safer, more efficient transport network for the heavy vehicle industry,” Mr Chester said.
“The current Eton Range crossing has tight curves and rises sharply, climbing 130m in less than 1.5km.
“The new alignment will address these risks and provide a safer route for heavy and oversized vehicles.”
Queensland Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety Mark Bailey said the Peak Downs Highway was an important link for mining, grazing and agricultural industries in the area.
“295 jobs will be created over the life of the project with construction expected to take about two and a half years,” Mr Bailey said.
“To ensure construction could be delivered effectively, Transport and Main Roads undertook extensive geotechnical works to inform the design and tender process.
“The innovative earthworks trial involved close collaboration with local contractors and resulted in a reduction in the risk of unforeseen construction costs.
“This project is great for the community and I expect the collaborative approach to continue as the project progresses which is a great outcome for locals.”
Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said the essential hallmark of the new Eton Range project was about saving lives, followed by a boost for local employment.
“This part of the highway has been a death trap for heavy vehicles and motorists. The Turnbull-Joyce Coalition is putting in $166.17million to fix it up and save lives,” Ms Landry said.
“I am also pleased this project will support almost 300 jobs over its two and a half year construction phase, and will provide a much needed employment boost for the region.”