Major upgrades promised for QLD's inland roads
A PRE-ELECTION boost of $730million will result in major upgrades to inland Queensland roads, including the Yeppoon to Mt Isa corridor.
The funds are designed to open Central and North Queensland to traffic, to business and to jobs.
The investment is expected to seal or upgrade around 700 kilometres of road, equivalent to building a new road from the Gold Coast to Rockhampton.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said the Yeppoon to Mt Isa corridor would receive $190million.
"Obviously my major focus is providing four lanes between Rockhampton and Yeppoon but the planning will come down to the state Department of Main Roads,” she said.
"Some of those artillery roads need upgrading, especially where there are very dangerous black spots.
"It comes down to planning by Main Roads, it's in their hands - they have the experts and the engineers.”
Ms Landry said the funding would provide a "shot in the arm” to outback tourism, business trade and agriculture and boost central and north Queensland economies and jobs.
"The Liberal-National government is the first government for decades to invest significantly in east-to-west infrastructure in Queensland, and not just along the coast,” she said. "It's really important to have these corridors to the western areas.”
Roads and Transport Assistant Minister Scott Buchholz said the vital upgrades would reduce freight costs, better connect businesses to markets and improve access and safety for local communities as well as provide an inland alternative to the Bruce Highway.
The projects include:
The first sealed inland highway from Cairns to Melbourne by completing the Hann Highway, cutting 12 hours off the drive from Mareeba to Melbourne for fruit and vegetable growing businesses.
Sealing the Springsure to Tambo route. It will cut eight hours off a round trip for cattle producers and save almost $1400 a trip, meaning greater returns for farmers. The CSIRO estimates the upgrade will save Queensland's agriculture industry $4.6 million a year.
Open up Queensland to more visits from tourists. The investments will upgrade the iconic 3500 kilometre Savannah Way that connects Cairns to Broome, creating greater opportunities for tourists to see Georgetown, Normanton and Burketown, all places that have been hit hard by recent floods.
An inland alternative to the Bruce Highway, cutting hours in driving time and thousands of dollars in costs for truck drivers, and bringing millions of dollars in tourist spending to remote and regional communities.