Inland freight route to benefit from further investments

One of Queensland’s key inland road freight routes will get a massive boost from further safety improvements under a package of projects which is now underway.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said the investments in the Gregory Development Road are funded under both the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government’s $4.9 billion investment in the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative and stimulus funding announced last year to support Queensland’s economic recovery.

“We are investing in projects like this to help connect regional businesses to local and international markets, and better link up regional communities – to help secure our economic recovery,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“This project is about ensuring our key freight roads more efficiently connect agricultural and mining regions to transport hubs to support regional jobs and industries.

“Nationwide, the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government’s record $110 billion infrastructure investment plan is helping to connect communities and improve safety, while creating jobs and supporting our economic recovery.”

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said the Australian and Queensland governments had collectively committed more than $45 million in funding for further Gregory Developmental Road upgrades, in addition to previous funding of $45.41 million.

“I know locals have been calling for safety upgrades around Greenvale, which we are pleased to be delivering,” Mr Buchholz said.

“We are investing $25 million to widen and strengthen more than seven kilometres of road between Marble Creek and Christmas Creek under a jointly funded infrastructure investment response to COVID-19.

“Further north, under jointly funded Roads of Strategic Importance early works, we will deliver $15.31 million more of road widening and strengthening between about Airport Drive and the Redbank Creek Bridge.

“Locals and transport operators know the importance of packages like this, which not only provide safer conditions for the many heavy vehicles who use this roadway but also support local jobs and local economies.”

Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the joint-funded road works would be complemented by an additional Palaszczuk Government investment.

“In addition to the 20 per cent contribution towards the two road-widening projects, we will also upgrade a major culvert under Gregory Developmental Road at Porphyry Road,” Mr Bailey said.

“The culvert upgrade will not only improve safety, but also flood resilience.

“Works on the road widening and culvert upgrade started this month and will be ongoing for about two years.

“Those works will complement the $500 million in joint funding already locked in for upgrades to the Inland Freight Route between Charters Towers and Mungindi on the NSW border.

“The Inland Freight Route will take trucks off the Bruce Highway, create regional jobs and improve freight productivity for truck drivers, farmers and mine workers.

“This project is also part of the record $27.5 billion roads and transport investment being delivered by the Palaszczuk Government’s over four years, which is creating 24,000 jobs, and helping to drive Queensland’s economic recovery.”

Queensland Assistant Regionals Roads Minister Bruce Saunders said the Palaszczuk Government is committed to improving inland route capacity and conditions, as part of a record investment in Queensland’s road and transport networks.

“These projects follow on from a previous $45.41 million investment by the Queensland Government to widen other sections of pavement between Charters Towers and the Lynd.

“As part of this previous commitment, we conducted initial planning for widening the entire link between Charters Towers and The Lynd, putting us in the best position to accelerate detailed design and further road widening as funding is made available.

“This work helps to support the Palaszczuk Government’s long-term vision to build an inland freight route from Charters Towers to Mungindi, taking heavy haulage off the Bruce Highway.”

Both road-widening projects are jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments on an 80:20 basis, with contributions of $32.25 million and $8.06 million.

The $414.65 million package of shovel-ready Queensland projects is estimated to support an average of 670 direct jobs over the life of the program.

The $400 million Queensland Government road stimulus package investment is estimated to support an average of 430 direct jobs over the life of the program.

The statewide $185 million Roads of Strategic Importance Early Works package is estimated to support an average of 180 direct jobs over the life of the program.

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