A $929.3 million contract has been awarded to implement an Australian-first interchange design improving traffic management on Queensland’s Bruce Highway between Caloundra Road and the Sunshine Motorway.

Queensland Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester and Queensland Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey announced a Fulton Hogan-Seymour Whyte joint venture had won the contract for the project.

The design will allow motorists on Caloundra Road to seamlessly cross from driving on the left side of the road to the right side of the road as they negotiate the interchange.

Mr Chester said, “This project involves widening the highway to six lanes, as well a major upgrade to the Sunshine Motorway interchange and reconfiguring the Caloundra Road Interchange to a Diverging Diamond Interchange.

“This intersection zone sees the most crashes on the Bruce Highway and it urgently needs a new approach to traffic management for the roughly 60,000 vehicles that use it every day.

“The Diverging Diamond Interchange design is a first for Australia, and could be used in future projects across the country. It has been used with great success in the US since 2009 and will improve safety for traffic moving between the Bruce Highway and Caloundra Road.”

Mr Bailey said the upgrade to the Bruce Highway had also seen community feedback incorporated into the design layout.

“An average of 694 direct jobs will be supported over the life of the project, which is fantastic news for the Sunshine Coast community,” Mr Bailey said.

“After personally meeting with community members last year, we have also included a southbound exit from the highway to Pignata Road.

“This is a big win for the community as it will create safe and direct access to local businesses and homes, as well as a future connection to development in Palmview.

“A new service road will also be built on the western side of the Bruce Highway between Steve Irwin Way and Tanawha Tourist Drive.

“The design will also significantly reduce the impact to the Beerwah State Forest. This means the Caloundra Road interchange will be contained to the east of the Mooloolah cemetery and will no longer impact environmentally sensitive areas to the west.”

Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace said, “The benefit of this crossing is that right-turning traffic does not have to give way to opposing traffic, making the highway both safer and faster for Caloundra Road motorists,” Mr Wallace said.

“Motorists will then switch back to standard left-side driving on the other side of the interchange.”

Preliminary construction is anticipated to start by the end of 2016, with major construction expected to start in mid-2017 and be completed in 2020, weather permitting.

The Australian Government is providing $743.4 million to the project, with the Queensland Government committing $185.9 million.

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