Works have begun on the next stage of the transformational Outback Way upgrade.
After sealing 18 kilometres between Boulia and Tobermorey, crews have now started on paving and sealing an additional 25 kilometres between the two communities and widening 17 kilometres of road between Winton and Boulia.
Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said progress was being made to deliver five upgrade packages, worth about $26 million in total, over a three-year period.
“To date, the Australian Government has committed $330 million over 10 years to improve key sections of the Outback Way, a 2800 kilometre route connecting Laverton in Western Australia with Winton in Queensland,” Mr McCormack said.
“The Outback Way is well placed to support the agriculture and mining industries and has the potential to enhance new tourism opportunities throughout inland Australia.”
Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the road upgrade would support communities and drive even more tourism through ‘Australia’s Longest Shortcut’.
“We’re delivering more than $14.5 billion for regional Queensland roads and transport over the next four years,” Mr Bailey said.
“I recently visited Winton and the message is clear: sealing roads better connects our communities, supports the economy and creates much-needed jobs.
“An average of 41 direct jobs are being supported over the life of the first three upgrade projects.
“Once all five stages are complete, more than 90 per cent of Outback Way in Queensland will be sealed.”
Federal Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management and Member for Maranoa David Littleproud said the upgrade packages would boost road safety.
“The upgrades will help all motorists, locals and visitors alike, to get to their destination safely,” Mr Littleproud said.
“It is a welcome investment in the area and community.”
Queensland Senator Susan McDonald said that the Outback Way upgrades would support the regional economy.
“These works, once completed, will help boost efficiency and productivity and improve the supply chain,” Ms McDonald said.
“Making our transport network more efficient will support agriculture and small business in regional Queensland.
“The final two upgrades are now in the planning phase and are expected to begin early next year.”
Boulia Shire Council Mayor Rick Britton said the future looked bright for his community and the wider Outback.
“Our council’s roadwork crew is among those delivering the projects,” Cr Britton said.
“These projects provide stability and continuity of work for our teams which allows us to build further capabilities and expand experience.”
The Australian Government is contributing more than $21 million to the five upgrade packages, with the Queensland Government committing about $1.9 million and Boulia Shire Council about $3.4 million