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Bruce Highway upgrades speed up after Debbie

Haughton River Floodplains project brought forward nine months


The damage caused as a result of Cyclone Debbie last month has resulted in upgrades and restorations of existing infrastructure across Queensland.

Together, the federal and the state governments are investing up to $515 million in a floodplain upgrade project that will tackle the “worst flooding spots” on Bruce Highway.

Seeing the damage and disruption in traffic movement caused by Debbie, the governments have now decided to accelerate the upgrade of the Haughton River Floodplain project by nine months.

This means, the project, which was due to commence in 2019 will now begin by mid next year.

It includes building new overtaking lanes, wider medians, interchanges, bridges and bypasses.

Also part of the project is the upgrade of a 14km section of Bruce Highway, 50km south of Townsville and 30km north of Ayr, including replacement of the narrow Haughton River Bridge, state main roads and road safety minister Mark Bailey says.

“The upgrade will address one of the worst flooding spots on the Bruce Highway and we are committed to starting work as soon as possible,” Bailey says.

The federal government is forking out up to $412 million, while the state government is contributing $103 million to fund the upgrades.

Federal infrastructure and transport minister Darren Chester says the project is a part of the $50 billion infrastructure investment programme.

“Floodproofing works such as these help keep north Queensland’s economy functioning during the wet season, which means job security for residents and dollars into the cash registers of local businesses,” Chester says.

The replacement of the Haughton River Bridge, between Mackay and Townsville, has been voted one of the “most urgent” problems that need fixing, federal member for Dawson George Christensen says.

“Flooding at the Haughton severely impacts this thoroughfare for days on end, with floodwaters sometimes extending five kilometres south and nine kilometres north of the Haughton River Bridge,” Christensen says.

The project is expected to complete by mid-2021, weather permitting.

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