CONTRACT AWARD: The Capricorn Highway has been issued with a dire crash safety rating.
CONTRACT AWARD: The Capricorn Highway has been issued with a dire crash safety rating. Contributed

Capricorn Highway duplication contract awarded

THE contract for the $74.99 million Capricorn Highway duplication project between Rockhampton and Gracemere has been awarded.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the duplication would widen over five kilometres of the highway between Rockhampton and Gracemere from two to four lanes.

"This project, which is part of the $600 million Northern Australia Roads program, will support the economic development of northern Australia by improving the movement of freight and people," Mr McCormack said.

"When completed, the upgraded Capricorn Highway will see increased capacity and reduced travel times, particularly during the peak traffic times in the morning and afternoon."

Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said during the next six months, the contractor would progress the project design, with construction expected to begin mid-2019.

''We are seeking innovative design options for the project ahead of construction starting," Mr Bailey said.

"This process will focus on optimising traffic solutions for the region and involve extensive community consultation."

Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said the Capricorn Highway was Central Queensland's principal east-west freight corridor and part of Queensland's drive-tourism network, linking the Capricorn Coast to Outback Queensland.

"This is why the Capricorn Highway upgrade is significant for Central Queensland, as it will improve a vital connection for freight and commuter traffic between Rockhampton and Gracemere," Mr O'Dowd said.

"The upgrade will improve travel times with the reinstatement of a 100 kilometre-an-hour speed limit, improve access to Rockhampton during moderate floods and freight productivity for vehicles accessing Rockhampton."

Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said recent traffic growth across Gracemere had resulted in traffic volumes on this section of the Capricorn Highway exceeding 18,000 vehicles per day.

"This project will help ease traffic congestion as it will deliver a four-lane highway between Rockhampton and Gracemere as well as vital intersection upgrades at Nelson Street, Fairy Bower Road, McLaughlin Street and Gavial-Gracemere Road,” she said.

"It will also make the road safer for cyclists and pedestrians as the upgrades will separate them from fast-moving traffic.

"This was a key commitment at the 2016 federal election and I am pleased to see it progressing."

Rockhampton MP, Barry O'Rourke, said during the next six months, the contractor would progress the project design, with construction expected to begin mid-2019.

"The Capricorn Highway duplication will reduce the risk of head-on crashes by avoiding high-risk overtaking and will also improve efficiency by providing increased capacity," Mr O'Rourke said.

"It will also make the road safer for cyclists and pedestrians as the upgrades will separate them from vehicles."

LNP Senator and Minister for Northern Australia Matthew Canavan said the project would improve productivity for local industries and safety for all drivers.

"The NARP program is specifically designed to support economic development and job creation by investing in key roads across northern Australia and this upgrade of the Capricorn Highway will pay dividends for the region for years to come," Senator Canavan said.

The contract for the design and construct was awarded to Fulton Hogan and SMEC.

The Australian Government has committed $59.99 million to the Capricorn Highway duplication project while the Queensland Governments has committed $15 million. An average of 187 direct jobs will be supported over the life of the project.



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