THE $300m Bruce Highway upgrade to save Rockhampton from being cut off by flood water for long periods could start as early as October.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Rockhampton yesterday said $50m in funding had been brought forward to allow construction to start for two new lanes and a 1.6km bridge across the Yeppen floodplane.
The height of the new Yeppen South crossing would be above the city's record 10.2m 1918 flood level.
She laid down the funding detail as she announced a 10-year, $4.1 billion capital works program for the Bruce Highway.
"That (Yeppen South) is going to mean, in times of heavy rain, when we've seen flooding in this region and unfortunately it happens all too often, that with the extra height, this will be more resilient in times of flood," Ms Gillard said.
"(This) makes a difference in Gracemere, for the people of Emerald and the list goes on."
Member for Capricornia Kirsten Livermore said Ms Gillard understood how important the Yeppen upgrade was, after spending time in Rockhampton during the 2011 flood.
"The Prime Minister was here ... she saw the disruption it caused to the entire region. I'm thrilled to know we can take the next step forward."
The Yeppen Lagoon highway project is timed to finish in October which may allow Main Roads to swing straight into the Yeppen South job.
The Bruce Hwy between Yeppoon Road and Boundary Road will also be upgraded to improve the northern bottle-neck into the city.
The $100m project will see an additional 1.2km of the road and bridge over Limestone Creek upgraded to four lanes, while a timetable for the project is being negotiated with the state government.
Ten-year package - Central Queensland Projects
- Finalise the planning, followed by construction of a 28km ring road around Mackay.
- Widening from four to six lanes from the end of Ron Camm Bridge to north of Mackay-Bucasia Road near the Davey Street overpass.
- Flood proofing to the Yeppen South floodplain between the Burnett Highway and the Yeppen Roundabout, with two new raised northbound lanes and a new 1.6km bridge.
- Doubling of lanes along the Rockhampton Northern Access Corridor between Yeppoon Road and Boundary Road with two major intersection upgrades.
- Strengthening and widening of the 20km of highway between St Lawrence and Bowen.
- Continuing the Bruce Highway Safety Package of fixing black spots, installing new overtaking lanes, building new rest stops and laying audible edge markings.