One of Queensland’s highest profile infrastructure projects is making headway with construction underway on the Smithfield Bypass.
Member for Barron River Craig Crawford said the $152 million Palaszczuk Government-funded, congestion-busting project would significantly reduce traffic on the Captain Cook Highway (CCH) by diverting through traffic on to the new bypass and supporting jobs.
“This is a project that is supporting jobs for Far North Queenslanders, and for the duration of this project, that means about 115 jobs” Mr Crawford said.
“It’s also part of the reason why we’ve seen 1000 extra jobs in the Cairns region in the past year.
“As part of the tender process, it was important potential contractors could demonstrate their commitment to engaging local employees and businesses.
“I am pleased to see these important works awarded to a business that will support our families here in the Cairns region.”
Mr Crawford said the upgrades would help reduce congestion and make life much easier on the roads.
“As the people of Cairns know all too well, the Smithfield roundabout can be heavily congested at times,” Mr Crawford said.
“This roundabout has a crash rate three to six times higher than the Queensland average, and has previously been dubbed by insurers as the worst crash location in Cairns.
“Diverting traffic onto the new bypass will reduce the number of vehicles on the highway, improving travel times, reducing delays and lowering crash risks.
“A dedicated off-road cycle path near to the bypass will also improve access for bike riders in Smithfield and the surrounding areas.”
Mr Crawford said the design and construction of the project were being done by Highway Albem Joint Venture.
“The design phase for this project recommended bringing forward a future stage of the Smithfield Bypass,” Mr Crawford said.
“By doing this work now as part of the current construction plan, we will improve the wider road network’s functionality, improving road safety and saving costs on future works.”
Mr Crawford said community feedback had helped form changes to the project design.
“We will continue to engage with the community and more consultation is planned in coming months,” Crawford said.
“With construction underway, we are also asking residents and commuters to slow down, keep an eye out for changed conditions and follow all directions of traffic controllers.
“I thank motorists in advance for their patience and urge everyone to drive safely during construction.”
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the 115 jobs supported during this project was part of a much bigger and highly-successful job-creation program.
“The Palaszczuk Government has a $46 billion infrastructure program that is supporting 38,000 jobs in this year alone,” Mr Bailey said.
“That’s helped us to create almost 185,000 jobs for the Queensland economy since January 2015.
“In the lead up to the last election, building the Smithfield Bypass was one of the Palaszczuk Government’s major infrastructure commitments for Far North Queensland so it is pleasing to see heavy machinery on site getting the job done.”
Works are expected to finish in late 2020, weather permitting.