Peak Downs Highway near Bee Creek – pic courtesy Mackay Mercury
Possible expansion in the Galilee basin is being catered to with infrastructure upgrades.
Main roads will be spending $70 million to upgrade four timber bridges on the Peak Downs Highway west of Mackay.
The first sod has been turned on the upgrade to the timber bridges at Fiery, Lonely, Boundary and Cut Creeks which will be replaced with concrete structures.
They’ll help improve the productivity of mining operations in the Bowen and Galilee Basins, said Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester.
“This project will address limitations in the region’s freight transport network, improve safety and flood resilience, and support local businesses and industries by creating better connectivity in regional areas,” Mr Chester said.
The new bridges would improve the safety, capacity and reliability of the Peak Downs Highway, particularly for the heavy vehicle and freight industries, Queensland Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety Mark Bailey said.
“The new concrete bridges will be over 10 metres wide, improving safety for the large number of over-sized vehicles using the Peak Downs Highway,” Mr Bailey said.
The Commonwealth had committed around $35 million funding to the project under the Bridges Renewal Programme.
It was the largest investment in an individual package of works under the programme Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said.
“The Government is investing in upgrades for our nation’s deteriorating bridges to improve productivity, safety and community access and this multimillion dollar package demonstrates our commitment to improving infrastructure in regional Queensland,” Ms Landry said.
“This is a massive investment in our region which is not only a win for those looking for jobs, but will also be a business boost for the mining industry as it will improve heavy vehicle and freight movements.”
The Bridges would be built on new alignments, separate to the existing highway to minimise the impact on motorists, Member for Mirani Jim Pearce MLA said .
“An average of 114 direct jobs will be supported over the life of the project, which will improve safety and travel times,” Mr Pearce said.
“The new bridges will be able to withstand a one-in-50-year flood, reducing the impact of severe weather on Central Queenslanders.”
The Australian and Queensland governments are jointly funding the project on a 50:50 basis, with completion due in late 2018, weather permitting.