The first sod has been turned on the Mackay and Whitsunday’s largest ever road infrastructure project – the $397.9 million Mackay Ring Road Stage 1 in Queensland.
CPB Contractors is undertaking the project, which delivers 11.3 kilometres of new road, including the first 2.6 kilometres of the Walkerston Bypass.
Thirteen new bridges will also be built as part of the project, including major crossings at Pioneer River and Fursden Creek, and two major overpasses for the Peak Downs Highway and North Coast Rail Line.
Member for Mirani Jim Pearce said project works included the construction of a two-lane rural highway with connections at Stockroute Road, the Peak Downs Highway and the Bruce Highway north.
“Vehicles using the ring road will avoid 10 sets of traffic lights between Stockroute Road and Bald Hill Road with 80km/h and 100km/h speed limits,” Mr. Pearce said.
“The upgrade once finished, scheduled in early 2020, will not only increase safety and reduce accidents but also cater for the region’s predicted 50 per cent growth in cross-river traffic by 2031.”
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester said the Bruce Highway through Mackay was a critical commuter, freight and tourist route, and this upgrade would improve travel times by 14 per cent by avoiding 13 kilometres of low-speed urban roadway.
“The Mackay Ring Road project will improve safety for motorists and freight traffic while supporting an estimated 534 direct jobs over the life of the project.”