The first sod has been turned on the $929.3 million upgrade to the Caloundra to Sunshine Motorway in Queensland, which will feature Australia’s first Diverging Diamond Interchange.

Major construction has officially commenced on the Bruce Highway Upgrade—Caloundra Road to Sunshine Motorway project, which will increase safety and ease congestion for around 40,000 motorists who use the route daily.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Darren Chester, said the project was part of the Australian Government’s record $75 billion commitment to essential airport, road, and rail infrastructure projects.

“Upgrading the Bruce Highway is a priority project of the Australian Government’s infrastructure roll out, evidenced by the $844 million allocated in this year’s budget for new projects,” Mr Chester said.

“This upgrade will provide nearly 700 direct jobs, and project works will include transforming the Caloundra Road Interchange to a Diverging Diamond Interchange – a first for Australia.”

State Main Roads Minister, Mark Bailey, said the project was vital for the continued development of the coast and would provide safer, more efficient travel for motorists and industry along this section of the Bruce Highway.

“The project will involve upgrading the highway from four to six lanes, including major upgrades to both the Caloundra Road and Sunshine Motorway interchanges. A new two-way western service road will also be provided for local traffic between Steve Irwin Way and Tanawha Tourist Drive,” Mr Bailey said.

“Importantly, it will separate long-distance Bruce Highway traffic from local traffic movements, allowing the highway to function as a high-speed, high-volume corridor.

“My department and I worked hard to minimise the impact of this project specifically to the Beerwah State Forest, and the design will continue to evolve as construction progresses which may include further reduction of impacts on the Forest.”

Federal Member for Fisher, Andrew Wallace, said the Sunshine Motorway interchange and the western service road roundabout would be replaced with a signalised intersection.

“A new intersection has also been provided at Cunning and Wilson roads for local access,” Mr Wallance said.

“A revised bridge structure will also be constructed on the Bruce Highway at the Sunshine Motorway interchange. This will allow for future upgrades of the highway and reduce the number of traffic switches required during construction.

“Other design innovations will include upgrading the southbound exit from the Bruce Highway to Caloundra Road and Steve Irwin Way to two lanes, providing for buses at a new car pool facility next to Pignata Road for future events in the area.”

Federal Member for Fairfax, Ted O’Brien, said the Caloundra to Sunshine Motorway upgrade would have huge benefits for the greater Sunshine Coast community.   

“For local businesses, it will create efficiencies in drive times by not forcing local traffic onto the main north-south arterial highway, which in itself also makes road travel safer,” Mr O’Brien said.

“For our tradies travelling to Brisbane for work, there’ll be less morning congestion south through the Sunshine Coast gateway, and indeed less cars on the road as they carpool and commute.

“It is a huge step towards reducing Bruce Highway congestion, which is a major issue for our tourism industry.”

Major construction is expected to be completed by late 2020.

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