QLD calls for help on Ipswich Motorway upgrade

With matched federal funding, the Queensland government says the Ipswich Motorway can increase from four lanes to six

QLD calls for help on Ipswich Motorway upgrade
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is hoping for federal funding.


The Ipswich Motorway between Rocklea and Darra is in line for an overhaul after the Queensland government announced a $200 million commitment to an upgrade project.

However, while citing improved road freight, congestion, and 470 new construction jobs, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the improvements are dependent on the federal government to match the number.

"We know upgrading the Ipswich Motorway is crucial to ease congestion for both motorists and road freight," she says.

"In order for this $400 million project to become a reality, we need the Turnbull Government to come to the table and meet our commitment 50:50."

State main roads minister Mark Bailey says the upgrades would see two additional lanes on the 7km stretch between Granard and Oxley Roads, boosting access to the major industrial precinct of Rocklea and the Acacia Ridge Inter-model Transport Centre to the Port of Brisbane and Trade Coast.

"This project will provide improved travel time, reliability and a safer, faster journey for people travelling to and from South East Queensland’s rapidly expanding western suburbs," he says.

The upgrade would also see a northern service road along Oxley Creek.

The motorway is one of the three busiest freight routes in the state, with close to 12,000 trucks using the route daily, representing 15 to 18 per cent of all traffic.

It is also one of three project deemed ‘high priority initiatives’ by Infrastructure Australia in its Australian Infrastructure plan unveiled in February, which says congestion along the section represents a direct annual cost of $40 million in 2011 and "is likely to increase considerably over time."

Joined by the Cross River Rail project and the Port of Brisbane Freight Rail project, the Ipswich Motorway is in the sights of the Infrastructure Association of Queensland (IAQ), which hopes the project will gain further attention in the lead up to the budget.

"The upcoming release of the State Infrastructure Plan and the Federal Budget in May are terrific opportunities for government to confirm priorities, agree funding ratios and get some ‘game changing’ major projects like Cross River Rail from planning into construction" IAQ CEO Steve Abson says.

From its own analysis of the Draft State Infrastructure Plan Pipeline released in October 2015, the IAQ believes "infrastructure is at risk of being a casualty of the pressure to re-balance the Queensland economy post resources boom."

"With continued population growth there is a vital requirement for delivery of new infrastructure to avoid a major backlog and underpin economic growth," the body warns.


Port upgrade

The $1.9 million Port of Townsville upgrade project contract has been awarded to local business Bluewater Process Engineering (BPE).

The project, expected to be completed by mid-2017, will see the 50-year-old concrete columns under the wharf be repaired and reinforced with steel jackets.

Focusing on Berths 8 and 9, BPE founding partner and managing director Eric van Prooije says "these types of projects that come out of the Port are very encouraging" as the "industry here in North Queensland has been doing it a bit tough recently due to economic pressures".

Originally built in 1957, the upgrades will see the birth’s lifespan double.

"The modern concretes that have been developed for marine use over the last 15 years are substantially more durable than those that would have been used when Berths 8 and 9 were built back in the 50’s," van Prooije says.


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