Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said delivering $397.9 million towards the project was another element of the $8.5 billion task of fixing the Bruce Highway.
“This project is moving fast – just four months ago we called for expressions of interest, and now the lion’s share of funding from the Commonwealth has been locked in,” Mr. Chester said in a statement.
“Even better, we’ve identified savings of around $50 million. The money saved can go towards other high priority projects along the Bruce Highway.”
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said the project would take heavy vehicle traffic away from Mackay’s CBD and residential areas, and create a bypass for all vehicles which aren’t heading into the city.
Mr. Christensen also raised the importance of local workers and local businesses being given every opportunity to secure a fair share of the jobs and construction work that would be supported over the life of the project.
“The ring road is going to make a big difference to travel times—it’s thought it will cut travel time for trucks heading to the port by 20 to 30 per cent, and bypassing traffic by 50 per cent,” Mr Christensen said.
The Mackay Ring Road has been recognised as one of the most significant projects to be undertaken in the nation over the next fifteen years by the independent infrastructure advisor Infrastructure Australia.
Mr. Christensen said the first stage of the project would upgrade more than 11 kilometres of road between Stockroute and Bald Hill Roads, with the specific purpose of reducing traffic congestion and accidents.
“We’re also looking at 13 new bridges being built as part of the project, which will include major crossings of the Pioneer River and Fursden Creek to be built to a one-in-100-year flood immunity level, vastly reducing the potential for road closures,” he said.
Work on Stage One is due to start mid-year and be completed by early 2020. The Australian Government has committed up to $397.9 million to the Bruce Highway— Mackay Ring Road—Stage 1 project, with the Queensland Government committing up to $99.4 million.