Cardwell Range Realignment Opens to Traffic

Media Release

WT017/2013

01 November 2013

Joint release with:

Andrew Cripps

Member for Hinchinbrook

The $198 million Cardwell Range Realignment project is now fully open to traffic.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss and Member for Hinchinbrook Andrew Cripps today announced that the road is open to traffic.

“This has been an extremely complex and challenging project and it’s great to see it open to local motorists and freight traffic,” Mr Truss said.

“The project realigned a four-kilometre section of the Bruce Highway through the Cardwell Range, starting about 15 kilometres north of Ingham.

“Eliminating the previous steep and winding alignment will improve safety and reduce travel times between Townsville and Cairns.

“The project features a new overpass over the North Coast Railway Line at Rungoo, which eliminates a dangerous level crossing, and will be welcome news for local community members and the travelling public alike.”

The Hinchinbrook Lookout had been upgraded, with a new access bridge over the highway built to remove unsafe right turns and provide a new access for visitors.

Mr Cripps said the new lookout would offer short-stay visitor parking and a safe place to enjoy the idyllic panoramic view of Hinchinbrook Channel and Islands.

“Final touches are being made to the lookout, which is expected to be fully open to the public within two weeks,” he said.

“Since work began in mid-2010, more than eight metres of rainfall has fallen on the project site, located in one of the wettest parts of Australia.

“This upgraded stretch of highway passes through the Girringun National Park, which is a World Heritage Site, and the project team worked extremely hard to ensure the environment was protected during the works.”

The project’s environmental initiatives included:

  • constructing a high-level viaduct and other structures over deep gullies to improve fauna connectivity,
  • installing nesting boxes for birds and mahogany gliders,
  • extensive revegetation and rehabilitation, including translocating protected plant species outside the project area,
  • employing specialist animal spotters on site to remove and relocate wildlife before vegetation clearing works, and
  • installing sediment and erosion control devices to reduce the amount of soil transported off-site in wet weather events.

“In addition, not only has this project boosted road safety, it also supported about 268 direct and indirect jobs for local workers,” Mr Cripps said.

“A big congratulations to the project team and a huge thanks to road users and the community for their patience while this vital project was carried out.”

To keep up to date with the latest road conditions across Queensland, please visit the Traffic Information website at www.131940.qld.gov.au or phone 13 19 40.