Queensland’s $103 million Bruce Highway upgrade near Aldershot is well underway, with works ramping up to build two new bridges at Saltwater Creek and Deadmans Gully.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Barnaby Joyce, said the jointly funded project will upgrade the bridges and flood-ways near Aldershot, to reduce the impact of flooding between Maryborough and Torbanlea.
The project is one of hundreds to be delivered under the $13 billion Bruce Highway Upgrade Program.
The $103 million project is jointly funded with the Australian Government contributing $82.4 million and the Queensland Government funding $20.6 million.
“These upgrades will provide flood immunity for a one-in-100-year flood, keeping traffic flowing and communities and emergency services connected even during times of crisis,” Mr Joyce said.
“This announcement is another example of Llew O’Brien and Keith Pitt’s advocacy delivering for the people of this region, securing funding for the infrastructure they need and deserve.
“It’s also the Federal Government’s record $110 billion infrastructure investment plan in action, delivering on our commitment to securing the nation’s recovery and keeping our communities safe.
Mr Joyce said that the Federal Government is investing over $10 billion in a safer, smoother and more reliable Bruce Highway for over half of all Queenslanders, from Brisbane right through to Cairns, who rely on the key north-south route.
Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister, Mark Bailey, said, “We’re making excellent progress on the pipeline of projects up and down the Bruce Highway, with 154 projects in delivery, including 48 under construction right now.
“With the $1 billion Gympie Bypass moving ahead, increased funding locked in to build four lanes for the Tiaro Bypass and now works starting at Saltwater Creek, locals in Gympie and the Wide Bay Region will benefit from significant improvements to the highway.”
Federal Member for Hinkler, Keith Pitt, said the project would improve flood immunity on the Bruce Highway by building the new bridges and upgrading four floodways between Maryborough and Torbanlea.
“This section of the Bruce Highway has poor flood immunity and has faced lengthy closures during significant rainfall events, so this important upgrade will help ensure traffic and freight can keep moving during wet weather,” Mr Pitt said.
Mr Pitt said that the works will strengthen the resilience of the national highway and will ensure that passengers and freight movements can avoid disruptions ─ which will have a significant impact on the local economy, particularly the horticulture and cane industries.
“I thank motorists for their patience during construction, and look forward to the project being completed as we work to rebuild our local economy,” Mr Pitt said.
Queensland Assistant Minister for Regional Roads and State Member for Maryborough, Bruce Saunders, said the Saltwater Creek upgrade would support 286 direct jobs.
“Work is also underway on the $20 million Bruce Highway upgrade at Childers, as well as $43 million worth of targeted safety upgrades on the highway between Gin Gin and Miriam Vale,” Mr Saunders said.
“These projects aren’t just making the highway safer, more flood resilient and less congested, they are also supporting our local economy.
“They mean local jobs and opportunities are being supported not just for construction workers, but also local businesses and suppliers that can subcontract to large projects like these.”
Federal Member for Wide Bay and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Llew O’Brien, said the upgrade would help keep communities connected during natural disasters, improve general safety, and create jobs for the region.
“We have suffered regular wet-weather closures and delays on this part of the highway, most notably during the 2013 floods when the Bruce Highway was closed for nearly 31 hours due to flooding at Saltwater Creek Bridge, which put a significant strain on essential services and delayed the recovery period,” Mr O’Brien said.
“The Bruce Highway is a lifeline during natural disasters, and a better highway also builds a stronger economy and supports jobs.
“I’ll keep fighting for every dollar I can get to make sure the Bruce Highway is as safe as possible, and meets the needs of motorists, local communities, businesses and industry to ensure our region can thrive into the future.”
The project is expected to be completed by late 2023, weather and construction conditions permitting.
The Bruce Highway Upgrade Program is the largest road infrastructure program currently underway in Queensland, supporting regional economic growth and boosting employment opportunities.
For more information, visit the project webpage here.