A $60 million Coalition investment will support duplication works on the Capricorn Highway, reducing congestion and time delays between Rockhampton and Gracemere.
The project will involve more than five kilometres of highway duplication – providing improved and more reliable travel times, and saving commuters time and money.
Works will also include construction of a new two-lane bridge over Scrubby Creek; four intersection upgrades; and cross-drainage works to mitigate flooding.
The commitment to the project follows lobbying by local MPs who took the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester to view congestion on the highway in early May.
The Capricorn Highway is a critical road for the local resource, agricultural and tourism industries as well as a connection road for central Queensland communities. In total, more than 17,000 vehicles travel on the highway between Rockhampton and Gracemere every day.
Traffic volumes on the highway are estimated to grow at four per cent per year over the next 20 years due to the development of the Galilee and Bowen Basins.
The package of works will improve the capacity and increase the productivity of the highway, making it easier and safer to travel between the inland freight route and city of Rockhampton, Port Alma and the Port of Gladstone.
Much-needed upgrades to the Capricorn Highway were identified in the Northern Australia Audit and the Coalition’s investment supports priorities put forward by the Queensland Government.
Part of the Coalition’s investment will go towards the development and delivery phases of the project with works expected to commence within 18 months.
The $60 million investment in the Capricorn Highway builds on the Coalition’s recent commitments to improve the transport network in North Queensland which include:
- $150 million to develop the Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor;
- $75 million to support the construction of the Walkerston Bypass;
- $42 million to progress the sealing of the Hann Highway;
- $33 million to improve access on the Flinders Highway; and
- $5 million to increase safety at nine Barkly Highway intersections through Mount Isa.
Combined, the upgrades form part of the Coalition’s plan to strengthen economic development opportunities and create jobs and growth in Northern Australia.
The Coalition’s $5.7 billion commitment to road infrastructure in Northern Australia since 2013-14 has already seen the delivery of key upgrades such as the $170 million Yeppen Floodplain upgrade, and includes $700 million for other high priority road projects through the Northern Australia Roads and Beef Roads programmes.