Design has started on the $103 million Bruce Highway-Saltwater Creek Upgrade project, north of Maryborough in Queensland, that will help improve flood immunity for the notoriously problematic section of the highway.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the project would improve flood immunity on the highway, by building new bridges at Saltwater Creek crossing and Deadman’s Gully, and upgrading four floodways between Maryborough and Torbanlea.
“This is a known problem section of the Bruce Highway with poor flood immunity, and after significant rain, experiences closures that affect passenger and freight movements in central and northern parts of the state,” Mr McCormack said.
“The Australian Government has worked with the Queensland Government to identify priority areas, such as this one, where we can reduce the economic and social impacts of flooding.”
Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, said once complete, the upgrade will cut delays caused by road closures and also improve motorist safety.
“What we’ve seen is regular flood closures on this stretch of highway often resulting in delays anywhere between 3.6 to 19.3 hours a year, which is why we’re taking action,” Mr Bailey said.
“We’re committed to delivering important projects like this to keep Queenslanders and our industries connected and minimise the impact of flooding.”
Federal Member for Wide Bay, Llew O’Brien, recalled a major road closure that occurred in 2013 when a section of the Bruce Highway was closed for nearly 31 hours due to flooding at Saltwater Creek Bridge.
“This project will help to ensure a road closure like that does not happen again and will save the community a considerable amount of travel time during the wet season,” Mr O’Brien said.
“Improving flood immunity is a key objective of the Australian and Queensland government’s $12.6 billion Bruce Highway Upgrade Program, and projects like this strengthen our road network’s resilience.
The Australian Government has committed up to $82.4 million towards the project and the Queensland Government has committed up to $20.6 million and the design is expected to be completed by 2020.