Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the jointly funded upgrade would help improve safety and ease of access for heavy vehicles and motorists.
“This is great news for the drivers of around 37,000 vehicles that access the corridor every day, who will experience improvements in traffic flow, a reduction in urban congestion and overall travel time benefits,” Mr McCormack said.
“Widening the highway from four to six lanes will cater for the steadily increasing traffic flows along this critical corridor, to and from the Port of Cairns, the wharf precinct and the city’s central business district.”
Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said the tender assessment included engagement with a local supplier and sub-contractor.
“This project will also deliver a boost in jobs for Far North Queensland, with an average of 113 direct jobs supported over the life of this project.”
Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said the project would increase productivity by helping to improve the efficiency of traffic flows on the southern approach to Cairns.
“This project really will be of long-term benefit to Far North Queensland’s regional economy —particularly the freight and tourism industries,” Mr Entsch said.
“Once finished, residents and businesses will notice an immediate improvement in traffic flows along the 2.6 kilometre stretch of the highway.”
State Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the works would also involve replacing the roundabout at Draper and Kenny Street with a signalised intersection.
“Changing the roundabout at Draper and Kenny Streets to a signalised intersection with extra turning lanes will significantly reduce congestion at this location, and the construction of a new concrete bridge over Chinaman Creek for inbound traffic will increase capacity,” Mr Healy said.
Works are expected to be completed in late 2021, weather permitting. The project is jointly funded, receiving $83.3 million from the Federal government and $20.8 million from the Queensland government.