The $535m Bruce Highway – Cairns Southern Access Corridor (Stage 3) – Edmonton to Gordonvale have reached the finish line after three years of construction.
The Australian Government is continuing to deliver the community and road infrastructure the Cairns region needs to stay safely connected, prosper and thrive.
Today Minister Catherine King and Senator Nita Green announced the imminent completion of the Bruce Highway – Cairns Southern Access – Stage 3 – Edmonton to Gordonvale project; a $535 million project to which the Australian Government committed $428 million.
The Australian Government is also delivering significant support for Cairns under the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program. This includes $13.9 million across all four phases supporting Cairns Regional Council to deliver priority local road and community infrastructure projects, creating jobs and long-lasting benefits for the region.
“Vital infrastructure projects like this are helping support rural and regional Australia by connecting communities, strengthening freight networks and improving road safety,” says Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King.
“Whether it’s through improvements to the Bruce Highway or our investments in the Black Spot Program or Roads to Recovery, we are delivering the upgrades that get people home safely, get people home quickly and support connected a community,” says Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King.
$9.1 million is also being delivered from 2019-20 to 2023-24 under the Roads for Recovery program, which supports construction and maintenance of local road infrastructure assets. This is in addition to over $900,000 for projects under the Black Spot Program, tackling high-risk road crash sites.
The new four-lane road between Edmonton and Gordonvale will shortly open to motorists, delivering improved travel time and traffic flow.
“This is Far North Queensland’s largest road and rail infrastructure project, and its completion will be a massive boost to the community and the estimated 20,000 thousand motorists who travel this section of the Bruce Highway every day,” says Senator for Queensland Nita Green.
“Whether it’s our roads, in education or with community infrastructure that supports the jobs and opportunities of regional Queenslanders, the Albanese Government is delivering for far north Queenslanders,” says Senator for Queensland Nita Green.
In addition to the highway duplication, this project includes new and upgraded intersections, new bridges and an upgrade of the Queensland Rail Line and local roads as well as an off-road cycle path.
The cycleway is a dedicated off-road high-speed path for cyclists to use from Riverstone Road to the existing pathway at Thompson Road and was named in honour of Gordonvale cyclist Luke Azzopardi, who died in a crash in 2021.
The upgrades promote active transport via the use of the new off-road cycle path and pedestrian overpasses and underpasses.
The Cairns Marine Precinct, which the Australian Government has committed $180 million towards, is on track to begin later this year. This is expected to create 460 construction jobs while delivering a 5,000-tonne ship-lift, three ship hardstand areas and other components – which will support bigger ships and contracts coming in, underpinning more revenue and local jobs.
The Australian Government has also committed $50 million for the construction of a new, purpose-built Cairns CBD campus for the Central Queensland University, to accommodate a greater number of students and diversify the region’s higher education options.
“The joint venture contractors, John Holland, Seymour Whyte and AECOM are proud to have delivered Far North Queensland’s largest infrastructure project. The collaboration between our teams and the local subcontractors have made this fantastic achievement possible,” says Joint Venture Contractor Project Manager Natasha Roy, Project Manager E2G (Operations Manager John Holland).
“We have received support from the local community, from farmers to local businesses and residents, all understanding the disruptions from the construction because they knew it would result in a significant improvement of their future travel to and from Cairns,” says Joint Venture Contractor Project Manager Natasha Roy, Project Manager E2G (Operations Manager John Holland).
“The sustainable construction methodologies used during the works have been recognised across the industry. The team was also conscious of the significant heritage and sensitive areas surrounding us, and implemented high standards of controls to ensure the project would be delivered with no harm to the land or the environment.
Through the Investing in Our Communities Program opened earlier this year, the government is delivering on its election commitments to Cairns, which include a $1.7 million commitment for the Cairns Cricket Club Association and $290,000 in commitments for the Cairns Regional Council.
More than 200 million hours of work has been undertaken on the project and involved more than 300 local suppliers and contractors.
In addition to upgrading and duplicating the highway, the project will also deliver:
- A new intersection and two upgraded intersections
- More than eight kilometres of upgraded local roads (8.9 kilometres)
- New road and rail bridges at Wrights Creek and Stoney Creek
- Cycleway bridge at Collinson Creek
- 10.4 kilometres of cycleway
- Twenty-seven kilometres of drainage
- Three new pedestrian crossing facilities, including a pedestrian overpass
- A rail track upgrade and realignment of 4.5 kilometres of the Queensland Rail North Coast Line
The $535 million Edmonton to Gordonvale project is funded by the Australian and Queensland governments under the Bruce Highway Upgrade Program, with the Australian Government committing $428.01 million and the Queensland Government $106.99 million.
“The Queensland Government is building the infrastructure our growing State needs. It’s all part of Queensland’s Big Build the biggest investment in infrastructure delivery in our history,” says Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey.
“This project – Far North Queensland’s biggest and most complex – will deliver significant improvements to safety and connectivity, has reduced congestion and highway travel time on the Bruce Highway, as well as improved active transport networks,” says Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey.
“Input from the people who live in the area has been key to the success of the project. The community helped to name 10 new pieces of infrastructure, which celebrate the area’s local identities and rich Indigenous culture,” says Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey.
Construction on the overall project began in May 2020 and has supported more than 530 local jobs.
The project will fully open to motorists by the end of August 2023, with remaining minor works to be completed in September 2023.
The construction of Gladstone’s Aldoga Solar Farm will begin in early 2024, creating 350 jobs during construction and 10 operational jobs.
The $107m early works package for Queensland’s Inland Freight Route project includes bridge and culvert upgrades and road widening projects.