Works are set to begin on local roads and bridges that will connect the Toowoomba city centre with the $1.6 billion Toowoomba Second Range Crossing (TSRC) project, a bypass that will run north of the Queensland city.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, said construction of the Mort Street realignment in Cranley, the Mort Street interchange and a new 230m bridge over Gowrie Creek would begin in November 2016.

“This upgrade will increase freight efficiency, improve road safety, reduce business costs to transport goods, and ensure locals can get to their destinations quicker.

“We will deliver a safer and faster link for trucks across the Toowoomba Range, away from the city streets of Toowoomba.

“This work will provide the most direct connection between Toowoomba City and the TSRC at Mort Street, just six kilometres from City Hall,” Mr Chester said.

Queensland Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety, Mark Bailey, said the Mort Street interchange would be complemented by another connection at Boundary Street to provide heavy vehicles with access to the fast-growing industrial areas on the western side of the city.

“The Mort Street interchange will be one of six connections with major arterial and local roads along the 41km toll road, and is one of 24 bridges being built by contractor Nexus,” Mr Bailey said.

“The community will start to see significant changes in the Mort Street area, with the local road upgrades beginning to take shape and Mort Street ultimately connected to the TSRC.

“When these enabling works are finished, traffic will be switched on to the new section of Mort Street. After the traffic switch, we will then start the next stage of works without any major disruption to motorists.”

Federal Member for Groom, John McVeigh, said motorists would be able to see foundation works underway for the Mort Street interchange bridge and a bridge over Gowrie Creek.

“While these bridges will not be in operation until the project is nearly completed, we are building the structures now so we can construct the TSRC around them during 2017 and 2018,” Mr McVeigh said.

“These works, especially the works on the bridges, will really help residents and motorists see the alignment of the TSRC and how it will fit into the Cranley area.”

Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor, Paul Antonio, welcomed the start of works.

“The construction of the TSRC is a game-changer for this region and our residents are now beginning to see how this vital infrastructure links with our city,” Mr Antonio said.

“Council continues to position Toowoomba to become a major intermodal logistics hub and the link has been designed to cater for future growth in the region’s transport network.”

The Mort Street interchange and the Gowrie Creek bridge early works are expected to be completed in mid-2017, weather permitting.

The TSRC, which will support up to 1,800 direct and indirect jobs during design and construction, is due to open by late 2018.

The Australian government is contributing $1.137 billion, 80 per cent of the TSRC project cost, and the Queensland government is contributing 20 per cent of the project cost through the PPP contract arrangements.

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