The first sod has been turned on the $400 million Ipswich Motorway, marking the beginning of one of the biggest infrastructure projects in South East Queensland.

The upgrade which will support 470 jobs during construction, means motorists travelling between Brisbane and Ipswich will experience less congestion and safer travel between Granard Road, Rocklea, and the Oxley Road roundabout, Oxley.

Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher, said the Australian Government’s $200 million contribution to the project would create jobs while improving travel times for motorists and boosting productivity for businesses.

“Upgrading this section of the motorway from four to six lanes will improve safety and travel times for over 85,000 motorists, including 12,000 commercial vehicles, who use this stretch of the Ipswich Motorway each and every day,” Mr Fletcher said.

“This is a great example of how the Australian Government’s record $75 billion investment in infrastructure is delivering the roads communities and businesses need to thrive.”

Queensland Premier and Member for Inala, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said the Ipswich Motorway Upgrade was a major infrastructure project that would have wide reaching benefits for Queenslanders.

“The Ipswich Motorway is an important part of our national freight network, linking surrounding areas to Brisbane and the intermodal freight terminal at Acacia Ridge,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“The predicted industrial, commercial and residential growth in the western corridor means we must ensure the motorway meets the increasing traffic demand.”

Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety and Member for Yeerongpilly, Mark Bailey, said the upgrade was evidence of the State and Federal Governments delivering another important piece of supply chain infrastructure for Queenslanders.

“We’re committed to creating jobs for Queenslanders – beyond the immediate construction jobs, this project will facilitate employment growth throughout the broader region on Brisbane’s outside,” Mr Bailey said.

“Not only will the upgrade provide employment opportunities, it will help ease congestion and improve productivity into the industrial hub of Brisbane.”

The first major step in the construction phase will be the closing of the Donaldson Road exit ramp for construction of the new service road connection over the Oxley Creek floodplain on the northern side of the motorway.

This closure is part of the permanent upgrade works that will reduce the number of entry and exit points on the motorway, improving safety and ease of operation.

The construction project was awarded to the Queensland-based Bielby Hull Albem Joint Venture. Construction is expected to be completed by late 2020.

The Ipswich Motorway Upgrade: Rocklea to Darra – Stage 1 project is jointly funded with the Australian and Queensland Governments each committing $200 million.

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