Bruce Highway upgrades total $12.6 billion
UPGRADING the Bruce Highway ranked as the number on issue for regional members of Queensland’s top motoring body, the RACQ.
The news comes following three serious truck crashes in the Gladstone region in 24 hours, with one driver fighting for life in Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.
As the Bruce Highway is a route of national significance, funding arrangements for upgrades are shared between the Commonwealth (80 per cent) and state (20 per cent) governments.
Last month members of the Bruce Highway Trust Advisory Council met to develop a strategy and five-year action plans for the 1677km highway.
RACQ Public Policy head Dr Rebecca Michael said regional members ranked upgrades to the Bruce Highway as their top priority.
“Millions of Queenslanders rely on ‘The Bruce’, and so it needs to be safe, efficient and accessible for all road users, whether that be for local traffic, tourism or freight,” she said.
“Upgrades to the Bruce Highway must address congestion, safety and flooding issues.
“We would like progress on the pipeline of projects within the action plans to be tracked and measured against crash reduction targets and infrastructure risk assessments, such as AusRAP Star Rating targets.”
Ten billion dollars has been committed by the Federal Government to upgrades since they began in 2013, with the State Government contributing $1.8 billion, plus an additional $200 million per year.
From 2013 to 2028, $12.6 billion will be spent by state and federal governments on Bruce Highway upgrades, according to QLD Transport and Main Roads.
Dr Michael said the RACQ wanted to see a boost in funding for a program of low-cost, high benefit safety treatments and suitable funding to deliver programmed and routine maintenance.
When the COVID-19 pandemic delivered crushing blows to jobs and the economy in March, Dr Michael called on Bruce Highway upgrades to form part of economic stimulus measures.
“Planning or business case development is underway, but funding is still needed before construction can begin on these projects,” she said.
“Infrastructure upgrades can have significant impact on the economy by creating more jobs.”
The overall current Bruce Highway upgrade program includes over 30 individual projects along the highway’s length.
“With Queensland’s freight task expected to double between 2010–11 and 2025–26, the highway will have to accommodate a significant increase in freight volumes,” an Infrastructure Department spokesman said.
“The highway’s roles in connecting regional centres and facilitating significant freight movement were identified as key regional priorities for Queensland in the 2015 Australian Infrastructure Audit.
“The problems identified along the Bruce Highway include: safety concerns, poor flooding immunity, poor connectivity to regional centres and capacity constraints around key economic clusters.
“The problems identified along the highway are largely driven by increased traffic volumes associated with population and economic growth, resulting in congestion around key economic hubs.
“This diminishes Queensland’s freight productivity.”
Current roadworks and hazards in the Gladstone region - Department of Transport and Main Roads
South to North
Wataglen - Rosedale Road - from August 11. Reseal preparation works. Lanes reduced. Changed traffic conditions
Lowmead - Bruce Highway - from August 7. Hazard. Rough conditions. Speed reduced to 6okm/h. 34km south of Miriam Vale.
Colosseum - Bruce Highway - June 4 to September 16. Rest area closed due to upgrade. Follow signs.
Bororen - Bruce Highway - July 28 to September 30. Pavement upgrade, overtaking lanes blocked. Expect delays.
Wurdong Heights - Gladstone Benaraby Road. from August 6. Rough surface, loose gravel rocks at Boyne Island roundabout. Proceed with caution.
Benaraby - Bruce Highway. from May 30. Highway overtaking lane extension. Delays expected. Follow signs.
Sun Valley - Philip Street. from May to June 30, 2021. Philip Street duplication. Delays expected. Follow signs.
East End/ River Ranch - Bruce Highway. From July 1, to July 15, 2021. Highway safety upgrade works. Lanes reduced in both directions. Expect delays. Follow signs.
Marmor/ Raglan - Bruce Highway. From May to July 31, 2021. Highway safety upgrade works. Lanes reduced in both directions. Expect delays. Follow signs.
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