The Australian Government has approved $397.9 million in funding to kick-start works on Stage 1 of the Mackay Ring Road project in Queensland. According to Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester, the approved budget was part of the multi-billion dollar task of fixing the Bruce Highway.
“The Mackay Ring Road project will support local jobs, keep freight traffic moving more efficiently and improve safety for all drivers. This project is moving fast – just four months ago we called for Expressions of interest, and now the lion’s share of funding from the Commonwealth has been locked in,” Mr Chester said.
Mr Chester also said that approximately $50 million in savings has been identified, allowing more projects to be undertaken to improve the Bruce Highway.
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen stated that this project will take heavy vehicle traffic away from the CBD and residential areas in Mackay. The project will also create a bypass for vehicles that are not heading into the city.
“The ring road is going to make a big difference to travel times – it’s thought it will cut travel time for trucks heading to the port by 20 to 30 per cent, and bypassing traffic by 50 per cent.
“The works are expected to support around 600 jobs and I want to see that Mackay workers have every opportunity to claim a fair share of those jobs. I’m urging our State colleagues, who have the responsibility of awarding all tender works, to make sure that’s the case,” Mr Christensen said.
The first stage of the Mackay Ring Road project will involve upgrading over 11 kilometres of road between Stockroute and Bald Hill Roads to help reduce traffic congestion and accidents. According to Mr Christensen, they are also looking into building 13 new bridges as part of the project, and it will include constructing one-in-100-year flood immunity level major crossings at the Pioneer River and Fursden Creek.
In addition to the funding committed by the Australian Government, the Queensland Government is also committing up to $99.4 million towards the Mackay Ring Road Stage 1 project.
Construction on Stage 1 is expected to commence mid-2017 and be completed by early 2020.
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