The final section of Queensland’s Bruce Highway has opened to traffic in a big step forward for the $500 million Haughton River Floodplain upgrade project.
Drivers can now use the new bridge and road surface at Giru in addition to the 10.5km of new highway alignment already being used by traffic.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Barnaby Joyce, said it was one of the last milestones of the project.
“North Queenslanders are all too familiar with flooding closing the Bruce Highway over the Reed Beds area, with this section of highway typically closing every couple of years during the wet season, forcing transport operators and the travelling public to wait for waters to recede,” Mr Joyce said.
“Traffic across the national network is now using a safer, more flood resilient crossing of the Reed Beds area.
“The Australian Government, in conjunction with the Queensland Government, has resolved this issue with the existing low-lying road replaced with a bridge, which is much more resilient to flooding.
“The Bruce Highway alignment across the Reed Beds was also reconfigured to improve safety.”
Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, said the project built on other upgrades underway on the Bruce Highway.
“As a key connector for locals in the regions, and the backbone of Queensland’s freight industry, delivering upgrades on the Bruce Highway is a priority,” Mr Bailey said.
“Right now, a $481 million upgrade is underway on the Bruce Highway from Edmonton to Gordonvale in Cairns, which is supporting 466 jobs.
“At Giru, the focus moving forward will be on completing local connection roads and demolishing existing bridges and roads.
“Over the coming weeks, we’ll also finalise the highway on and off ramps to Hodel Road and Shirbourne Road, so local access can be reinstated.”
State Member for Mundingburra, Les Walker, said the final stage of the project would see the intersection of Woodstock-Giru Road and the Bruce completed.
“With traffic switched over to the new bridge, locals can see the major project coming to a close and are already experiencing the benefits,” Mr Walker said.
“To complete the final works, the intersection at Woodstock-Giru Road will be closed to traffic and a detour will be in place.
“Access to Giru will only be possible via Shirbourne Road and the road toward Woodstock will be accessible via Link Road.”
The $514.34 million Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade project is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments on an 80:20 basis, representing commitments of $411.47 million and $102.87 million, respectively.
The project is due to be completed in late 2021.