The Queensland Government has commenced early works on the Inland Freight Route.
Known as the Second Bruce, the 1185-kilometre Inland Freight Route is touted as an alternative route for goods carriers that will help keep communities connected during major flood events.
As the Bruce Highway is single-carriage each way for long stretches north of Rockhampton, a viable north-south alternative to the Bruce Highway is expected to form a critical freight corridor between Mungindi and Charters Towers.
So far $200 million has been allocated towards the project, with more than half of the State Government’s commitment now on the table to accelerate early works delivery.
A $19.7 million bridge upgrade over the Dawson River, north of Injune, that will widen the existing bridge from 7.4 metres to 10.3 metres is expected to kickstart the project.
Works will also realign the bridge approaches to improve safety and accessibility for heavy vehicles with this being the first of two bridge upgrades between Injune and Rolleston.
The $107 million early works package will focus on addressing constraints north of Injune, and constraints in the vicinity of Belyando, including:
- two bridge upgrades between Injune and Rolleston on the Carnarvon Highway
major culvert upgrades between Roma and Injune on the Carnarvon Highway
- two road strengthening and widening projects (in sections) between Clermont and Charters Towers on the Gregory Developmental Road in the vicinity of Belyando.
- This builds on $109 million in jointly funded upgrades recently delivered on the Inland Freight Route and key feeder roads, as part of the Roads of Strategic Importance program and road economic stimulus packages.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the project was essential as the state’s population continues to boom.
“Our government wants to see this critical freight corridor built, so we’re honouring our commitment to this project and getting works started now,” she said.
“We are calling on the Federal Government to keep their commitment to the Inland Freight Route and honour the 80:20 agreed funding arrangement.
“It’s only right that Queensland gets its fair share – no more, no less.”
Earlier this year the Bruce Highway was named as Queensland’s most unroadworthy road in a survey conducted by the RACQ motoring organisation.
Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said bringing forward the Queensland portion of funding for the Inland Freight Route between Mundgindi and Charters Towers is vital.
“The Bruce Highway is the single most important highway in the country,” he said.
“By building a better Inland Freight Route targeted at taking trucks off the Bruce, we are ensuring strong supply chains and driving economic growth for regional industries and communities.
“Not only that, upgrades will improve connectivity and safety to help keep our state moving with a viable alternative to the Bruce Highway.
“Our vast state has the largest regional road network in the nation; any proposed changes from 80:20 funding to 50:50 will have a serious impact on our regional communities.”