Infrastructure Australia has approved the Queensland Government’s project for widening the Bruce Highway from four to six lanes between Caboolture and Steve Irwin Way.
Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive, Romilly Madew, welcomed the 11km upgrade of the highway as a Priority Project on The Infrastructure Priority List.
“In our rigorous assessment of the business case, we found the upgrade to be a sound investment that would not only reduce travel time and provide capacity for future growth, but also improve operational safety,” Ms Madew said.
The Infrastructure Priority List provides governments at all levels with a prioritised list of nationally-significant investment opportunities for the near, medium and longer term.
The Bruce Highway is part of the National Land Transport Network and its role in connecting regional centres and facilitating significant freight movement has been identified by Infrastructure Australia as a key regional priority for Queensland.
With the populations of Moreton Bay and the Sunshine Coast anticipated to grow to more than 50 per cent higher than the 2011 levels by 2036, without intervention, the highway will be severely impacted by this ongoing urban expansion and Queensland’s increasing road freight.
The 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit, released in August 2019, found this section of the Bruce Highway is expected to become the third most congested in South East Queensland by 2031 in terms of total delay hours.
“The 2019 Audit also calls out the critical need for asset maintenance and renewal of our transport networks. This upgrade is a good example of how improving existing assets can be a better use of funds while still generating significant future benefits,” Ms Madew said.
Ms Madew said the upgrade of this section would also improve road safety outcomes on the Bruce Highway.
“Right now, this section of the highway has the highest crash rate of the 60km section between Pine River and Caloundra. Between 2012 and 2017, 52 crashes were recorded and as traffic increases we can only expect things to get worse. By 2031, crash rates are forecast to increase by 50 per cent,” Ms Madew said.
To mitigate flood risk, the project will also include the replacement of ten bridges (two carriageways) over Lagoon Creek, King Johns Creek, Six Mile Creek, Rose Creek and Beerburrum Creek.
This latest business case forms part of a large program of work for upgrading the Bruce Highway.
Infrastructure Australia is currently developing the 2020 Infrastructure Priority List, which is due for release in early 2020.