Piling works have started for a new Pioneer River crossing as part of the $497.3 million Mackay Ring Road Stage 1 project.
Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the piling works, taking place upstream from the existing Edmund Casey Bridge, would provide the physical support for the new 670m-long structure.
“These piles will form the permanent foundation of the river crossing, and will be drilled at least 2.3m into the bedrock, which is 26.6m below the level of the highest tide. While works are progressing along the alignment, it will be exciting to see this, the largest of the 13 bridges and overpasses on the project, taking shape,” Mr Bailey said.
About 530 direct jobs are being supported over the life of the project, scheduled for completion by early 2020.
It is funded by the Australian Government, which is committing up to $397.9 million, and the Queensland Government, which is providing up to $99.4 million.
CIMIC Group company CPB Contractors won the construct-only contract, worth about $215 million, to deliver the project.
The upgrade is expected to improve travel times on the Bruce Highway through Mackay by 14 per cent by avoiding 13km of low-speed urban roadway.
It includes 11.3km of new road, including the first 2.6km of the Walkerston Bypass, and 13 new bridges, including major crossings on the Pioneer River and Fursden Creek.