The new $57 million Sandy Gully Bridge north of Bowen will open three months early, boosting driver safety on the Bruce Highway in the leadup to Christmas 2017.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the project was one of standout upgrades happening along the length of the highway, and was an important part of the Australian Government’s action plan to reduce accidents.
“This project is part of the Australian Government’s $6.7 billion 10-year commitment to upgrade the Bruce Highway, which aims to improve safety, flood resilience and capacity along this important national corridor,” Mr Chester said.
“During Cyclone Debbie, the Bruce Highway was cut off at the old Sandy Gully Bridge, causing additional disruption to affected communities. We are now far better prepared for future wet weather events, with the upgrade improving flood immunity from Euri Creek all the way to the Merinda rail overpass.
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen, who has pushed for the upgrade since being elected in 2010, said it would provide significant safety benefits along the busy tourist route between Bowen and Townsville.
“The highway was realigned to accommodate the new bridge and to straighten curved sections, making it safer for vehicles travelling at high speed,” Mr Christensen said.
“By widening and raising the height of the road, the realigned sections of the highway are now much safer for motorists and far more reliable for freight vehicles. Improving the flood immunity will also limit the risks motorists take through flood waters, while the project has also benefited local employment, with a total of 107 jobs supported during the life of the project.
“It’s a great outcome to have this work completed by local contractors, Vassallo Constructions, three months ahead of time and crucially ahead of the next wet season.”
Construction on the Sandy Gully Bridge Upgrade started in September 2016.
The Australian Government committed $46 million and the Queensland Government $11 million to fund the $57 million Bruce Highway – Sandy Gully Bridge Upgrade project. This project forms part of the $8.5 billion, 10 year Bruce Highway Upgrade Program, to which the Australian Government is committing up to $6.7 billion.
Source: Australian Government