Toowoomba Second Range Crossing gets green light

Ministers expect heavy trucks to save 30-40 minutes using tolled bypass

Toowoomba Second Range Crossing gets green light
An artist's image of the propsed link at Hermitage Road

Federal and Queensland ministers have come together to pledge delivery of a tolled Toowoomba Second Range Crossing (TSRC).

Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister Warren Truss gave the project significant impetus, calling for the private sector to register interest in building the long-awaited link.

"The Registration of Interest is supported by financial commitments to the project by the Australian and Queensland governments," Truss says.

"It sets out the broad scope of works and objectives and invites the private sector to advise of potential interest in being involved.

"The registration process will move to a formal Expression of Interest stage over the next couple of months.

"A successful contractor will be named later this year, with construction expected to begin by mid-2015.

"The successful proponent will be responsible for the design, construction, financing of the new bypass, as well as for the operations and maintenance, including the collection of toll money."

Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney emphasised the project’s importance as a gateway to the Surat Basin and the Darling Downs.

"The TSRC is one of our Government’s top three infrastructure priorities, and the Newman Government has worked tirelessly to secure the Commonwealth funding needed to make this project a reality," Seeney says.

"It provides the missing link between the Surat Basin, where an estimated $30 billion worth of mining and development projects are now planned or underway, to international gateways and the labour and services supply market in South-East Queensland.

"Additionally, up to 30-40 minutes will be shaved off the total travel time across the range for heavy and super heavy commercial vehicles, with drivers able to avoid up to 16 sets of traffic lights."

Local MP and Federal Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane said this significant step towards construction of the Bypass would be welcome news for the people of Toowoomba and the Darling Downs.

"The Coalition understands the importance of regional infrastructure and this project is particularly important, given it will be a vital part of the national freight corridor," Mr Macfarlane said.

"The Coalition Government is committed to building the Toowoomba Bypass."

Expected  to take three years to build, the likely cost of the link is unclear, with the Queensland Government quoting $1.6 billion recently while a 2008 case study putting it at $1.75 billion.

The case study says a proposed $3 toll for light vehicles, a $15.02 toll for rigid trucks and a $20.61 toll for multi-combination trucks will only generate a small amount of revenue, meaning the project "will still require a considerable amount of government contribution".

Industry estimates put the likely savings at around $25 for a semi-trailer.

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