Four lanes to six: highway widening gets tick of approval
THE State Government will widen the Bruce Highway from four to six lanes between Caboolture and Steve Irwin Way after the project was today given the green light by Infrastructure Australia.
Infrastructure Australia chief executive Romilly Madew welcomed the 11km upgrade of the highway as a Priority Project on the Infrastructure Priority List.
"In our rigorous assessment of the business case, we found the upgrade to be a sound investment that would not only reduce travel time and provide capacity for future growth, but also improve operational safety," she said.
The Bruce Highway is part of the National Land Transport Network and its role in connecting regional centres and facilitating significant freight movement has been identified by Infrastructure Australia as a key regional priority for Queensland.
The Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay populations are anticipated to grow to more than 50 per cent higher than the 2011 levels by 2036.
Infrastructure Australia said without intervention, the highway would be severely impacted by the ongoing urban expansion and increasing road freight.
The 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit, released in August this year, found this section of the Bruce Highway was expected to become the third most congested in southeast Queensland by 2031 in terms of total delay hours.
"This upgrade is a good example of how improving existing assets can be a better use of funds while still generating significant future benefits," Ms Madew said.
Ms Madew said the upgrade of this section would also improve road safety outcomes on the Bruce Highway.
"Right now, this section of the highway has the highest crash rate of the 60km section between Pine River and Caloundra," she said.
"Between 2012 and 2017, 52 crashes were recorded and as traffic increases we can only expect things to get worse. By 2031, crash rates are forecast to increase by 50 per cent."
The project will also include the replacement of 10 bridges (two carriageways) over Lagoon Creek, King Johns Creek, Six Mile Creek, Rose Creek and Beerburrum Creek.
The latest business case forms part of a large program of work for upgrading the Bruce Highway.
Infrastructure Australia is currently developing the 2020 Infrastructure Priority List, which is due for release early next year.
The updated Infrastructure Priority List is available at www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au.