A $70 million project to upgrade four timber bridges on the Peak Downs Highway, which links Mackay and Clermont in Queensland, has begun.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, said the new bridges would help improve the productivity of mining operations in the Bowen and Galilee Basins, supporting local job security and economic stability.
“This project will address limitations in the region’s freight transport network, improve safety and flood resilience, and support local businesses and industries by creating better connectivity in regional areas,” Mr Chester said.
Queensland Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety, Mark Bailey, said the timber bridges at Fiery, Lonely, Boundary and Cut creeks would be replaced with concrete structures.
“The new bridges will improve the safety, capacity and reliability of the Peak Downs Highway, particularly for the heavy vehicle and freight industries,” Mr Bailey said.
“The new concrete bridges will be over 10m wide, improving safety for the large number of over-sized vehicles using the Peak Downs Highway.”
Federal Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry, said the Australian Government had committed around $35 million funding to the project under the Bridges Renewal Program.
“This is the largest investment in an individual package of works under the program and it will be put to very good use by replacing the four bridges,” Ms Landry said.
“People who travel on country roads deserve good facilities just as much as those in major cities and I am proud to have helped facilitate these grants.
“The government is investing in upgrades for our nation’s deteriorating bridges to improve productivity, safety and community access and this multimillion dollar package demonstrates our commitment to improving infrastructure in regional Queensland.
“This is a massive investment in our region which is not only a win for those looking for jobs, but will also be a business boost for the mining industry as it will improve heavy vehicle and freight movements.”
Queensland Member for Mirani, Jim Pearce, said the bridges will be built on new alignments, separate to the existing highway to minimise the impact on motorists.
“An average of 114 direct jobs will be supported over the life of the project, which will improve safety and travel times,” Mr Pearce said.
“The new bridges will be able to withstand a one-in-50-year flood, reducing the impact of severe weather on central Queenslanders.”
The Australian and Queensland Governments are jointly funding the project with completion expected in late 2018.