Upgrade works to the Bruce Highway in Queensland are now underway, with a safer and efficient road to be completed by late 2021.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the $104.1 million jointly-funded upgrade from Kate Street to Aumuller Street would help to improve safety and ease of access for heavy vehicles, visitors and local motorists.

“Around Australia we are investing in making sure people can get home sooner and safer, and the Bruce Highway is a vital part of that vision,” Mr McCormack said.

“This is great news for the drivers of around 37,000 vehicles that access the corridor every day, who will experience improvements in traffic flow, a reduction in urban congestion and overall travel time benefits.

“Widening the highway from four to six lanes will cater for the steadily increasing traffic flows along this critical corridor, to and from the Port of Cairns, the wharf precinct and the city’s central business district.

Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, said the tender assessment included engagement with a local supplier and sub-contractor.

“The recent contract award to Georgiou Koppen Joint Venture means works have started to improve this vital link that drives transport, tourism and the Cairns’ economy,” Mr Bailey said.

“This project will also deliver a boost in jobs for Far North Queensland, with an average of 113 direct jobs supported over the life of this project.”

Federal Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, said the project would increase productivity by helping to improve the efficiency of traffic flows on the southern approach to Cairns.

“This project really will be of long-term benefit to Far North Queensland’s regional economy – particularly the freight and tourism industries,” Mr Entsch said.

“Once finished, residents and businesses will notice an immediate improvement in traffic flows along the 2.6km stretch of the highway.”

State Member for Cairns, Michael Healy, said the works would also involve replacing the roundabout at Draper and Kenny Street with a signalised intersection.

“Changing the roundabout at Draper and Kenny Streets to a signalised intersection with extra turning lanes will significantly reduce congestion at this location, and the construction of a new concrete bridge over Chinaman Creek for inbound traffic will increase capacity,” Mr Healy said.

The project is jointly funded by the Australian ($83.3 million) and Queensland ($20.8 million) governments.

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