REVEALED:Deputy PM gives latest on Rocky's beef road upgrade
DEPUTY Prime Minister Michael McCormack was in Rockhampton over the weekend to inspect the progress on upgrading access for Rockhampton's road trains.
The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport expected that the project would allow more efficient travel of road trains between Gracemere's Central Queensland Livestock Exchange sale yards and the Emu Park Rd meatworks.
He said stage two of the project was put out to tender and was expected to be complete in 12-18 months. It involved widening and improving the surface of Lakes Creek Rd and St Christopher's Chapel Rd as well as replacing Frenchman's Creek Bridge.
"Progress on stage three of this project is being made as well, with the business case completed and detailed design underway,” Mr McCormack said.
He said the Federal Government's commitment of $20million towards the $30million project (along with $10million from the State Government) to improve the Rockhampton area road network was funded under the Federal Government's $100million Northern Australia Beef Roads Program.
"[The project will give] type 1 road trains access to 29km of road across the Capricorn Highway, Bruce Highway, Rockhampton-Yeppoon Rd and the Rockhampton-Emu Park Rd,” Mr McCormack said.
The upgrade would remove the need for people driving this sort of road train to decouple their trailers at Gracemere, unload and reload.
"These road projects, it's not the millions of dollars, that doesn't really compute with people but when you tell them it's going to save them 40 minutes from point A to B, it's more time with their families, that's where the benefit comes in with this project,” Mr McCormack said.
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said she looked forward to seeing the full benefits of the upgrades being realised and expected the remaining works to start construction early next year.
Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke said by removing the need to decouple their road trains, the project would allow significant time and cost savings while improving safety,” Mr O'Rourke said.
Capricornia, Michelle Landry, said she was pleased to have seen the project proceed so quickly.
"This is a great project of real common sense; we had a problem with cross-loading at Gracemere, so we've implemented a solution,” Ms Landry said.
"The fact we could get the necessary works on the go in a timely manner is a credit to both levels of government working together for an outcome. That outcome is greater safety for our truckies and a more efficient flow of livestock.”
Access for Type 1 road trains to Rockhampton's area road network is under strict permitting conditions administered by Queensland's Department of Transport and Main Roads. The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator issues permits to operators restricting operating hours to between 7pm and 7am, seven days a week.