Drivers have had their first taste of the jointly-funded $400 million Ipswich Motorway upgrade, with a major traffic switch underway.
More than 85,000 daily motorists will shift onto raised, wider lanes, making way for the old westbound bridges to be demolished.
Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the switch is a major milestone for the project and a key part of upgrading the motorway from four to six lanes between Granard Road, Rocklea and east of Oxley Road Interchange.
“These bridges will carry more than 85,000 vehicles daily and will boost the motorway’s flood immunity by being built to current standards,” Mr Tudge said.
Queensland Premier and Member for Inala Annastacia Palaszczuk said the $400 million project, was not only supporting more than 470 local jobs, it’s making the Ipswich Motorway more flood resilient.
“As a local I’ve seen how devastating floods can be for our community, and the impacts on the Ipswich Motorway,” the Premier said.
“What this traffic switch means is attention can now turn to building the new higher westbound lanes and bridges over Oxley Creek.
“This important project is part of a record $23 billion roads and transport program my government is delivering across the state creating 21,500 jobs.
“It means jobs for Queenslanders and safer more efficient roads, meaning people can get home sooner and spend more time with their families.”
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the project was now over the half way mark.
“I’m proud the Palaszczuk Government is delivering this Ipswich Motorway upgrade which is good news for our local freight industry and businesses,” Minister Bailey said.
“As we enter the home stretch, I ask motorists to remain vigilant, be aware of the changes to traffic conditions, and drive safely.”
Senator for Queensland Paul Scarr said the proposed works would enable future economic growth through improving the network for transport.
“Once completed, the upgrade will increase travel times and reliability for the transport of vital goods and services for businesses and consumers,” Senator Scarr said.
Member for Mt Ommaney Jess Pugh said in the 2011 floods, the old bridges were submerged leading to the motorway being closed.
“This is a huge win for our community, with new bridges to be two metres higher than the old ones,” Ms Pugh said.