The Queensland Government has announced $152 million in funding for a new bypass road at Smithfield in Cairns with construction set to begin in 2018.
Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, made the announcement at the Smithfield roundabout along with Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety, Mark Bailey, Member for Barron River, Craig Crawford and Minister Assisting the Premier in North Queensland, Coralee O’Rourke, as part of the Queensland Government’s ‘Governing from Cairns’ week.
Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said the bypass would significantly improve safety and traffic flow for northern beaches residents as well as create 115 full-time jobs during construction.
“The people of Cairns have been hearing about the proposed Smithfield bypass road for a long time now, and Member for Barron River, Craig Crawford has been a relentless advocate for the project so I am pleased to announce it is now a reality,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“This major investment in Cairns infrastructure will deliver a new 3.8km long road running parallel with Captain Cook Highway to provide an alternative route between the McGregor Road intersection and Yorkeys Knob Road intersection.
“The new road will cater for current and future traffic demand on Captain Cook Highway by directing through traffic away from the busy roundabouts at Smithfield and Caravonica.
“This will shorten traffic queues and reduce the risk of crashes at the roundabouts.”
Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety, Mark Bailey, said traffic modelling indicated the new road would reduce trip times between McGregor Road and Yorkeys Knob Road by about 63 per cent during the morning peak and 75 per cent during the afternoon peak.
“The Smithfield Bypass will alleviate a lot of this congestion and will also see a 20 per cent reduction in forecast crashes as a result.”
Member for Barron River, Craig Crawford, said the announcement was a game changer for Cairns.
“I am absolutely stoked the Queensland Government is making this key project a reality,” Mr Crawford said.
“Now the funding is secured, TMR will get on with the task of carrying out detailed design.
“I know that local businesses and residents will have questions about the project, so it’s important that we reach out to them as soon as possible to ensure they are kept up-to-date as planning progresses.
“We are also aware of the proximity of the Cattana Wetlands, a local nature conservation park.
“Our planning has accounted for this and any impacts at this location will be minimised as much as possible.”
Treasurer and Member for Mulgrave, Curtis Pitt, congratulated the Barron River MP on a successful campaign.
“Craig has been a tireless champion for the Smithfield Bypass which is why it’s received the green light for works to commence next year,” Mr Pitt said.
“Far North Queensland will have a lot of construction work underway which means more jobs and economic momentum for our region.”
The scope of works include:
- Construction of a new, two-lane bypass road connecting McGregor Road roundabout and Yorkeys Knob Road intersection
- Construction of a two-lane, two-way overpass at the intersection of Captain Cook Highway and McGregor Road
- Upgrading of the existing Yorkeys Knob intersection from a roundabout to a signalised intersection
- Aide centre-line treatment for improved safety
- A full length off-road cycle path
Mr Bailey said the business case for the project had recently been finalised which compared the benefits of constructing the bypass road and carrying out upgrades along the existing alignment.
“The Economic Assessment of the bypass solution, undertaken as part of the business case, found that it delivers $2.61 of benefit for every dollar of investment, which represents outstanding value for money.
“These benefits are primarily due to travel time savings, reduced vehicle operating costs and a reduction in the frequency of crashes for road users.
“The business case also identified major benefits for freight efficiency and support for about 115 full-time jobs over the four year construction period.”