The end of Section C and starting point of Section D (Gympie Bypass) of the Bruce Highway.
The end of Section C and starting point of Section D (Gympie Bypass) of the Bruce Highway. Philippe Coquerand

How to get a job on the Gympie bypass

COSTED at $1 billion and expected to bring almost 600 jobs over the course of its construction, the Gympie Bypass is going to move more than just traffic in the region.

But when exactly is that work to start?

There is no easy answer but the region's residents can expect some movement with the clearing of the corridor ahead of construction expected to start within the next two months.

RELATED: Bypass expert reveals what Gympie needs to do to get ready

This includes the removal of houses and sheds in the project's path and the relocation of power and phone lines.

And weather permitting, it should be done by mid-year, a Transport and Main Roads spokeswoman said.

Map of Section D of Bruce Hwy bypass
The intended bypass route. Contributed

A start date for work on Section D itself is a little harder to pinpoint thanks to a delay in delivering the business case to Infrastructure Australia.

"The business case required updates to traffic models and projections to reflect recent trends and predictions for traffic growth in the region,” she said.

It is "expected to be submitted to Infrastructure Australia soon”.

A spokesman for the federal Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities said this is likely to be about March.

"The business case for the Cooroy to Curra - Section D project is expected to be finalised in the next one-two months, following which it will be submitted to Infrastructure Australia for consideration,” he said.

Keith Pitt, Deputy PM Michael McCormack, Shelley Strachan and Llew O'Brien celebrate $800 million funding for Section D.
MP Keith Pitt, Deputy PM Michael McCormack, Gympie Times editor Shelley Strachan and MP Llew O'Brien celebrate the announcement of $800 million funding for Section D in April last year. Scott Kovacevic

"It is expected that the tender process for construction will follow once the business case has been finalised.”

Those waiting to get a glimpse of the detailed maps will need some patience, though.

The design for the main alignment is complete, the TMR spokeswoman said, but there was still work being done on the auxiliary works and service relocations.

"We will present the design to the community at public displays once consultation with impacted property owners and all levels of government is complete,” she said.

Once all this is done and tenders are awarded, the major work will begin.

There should be a lot of it on offer, too.

TRAFFIC CHAOS: The Bruce Highway through Gympie was choked all the way back past Albert Park as Road Works continued on the Bruce Highway upgrade through the city.
CBD traffic is going to be a thing of the past. Craig Warhurst

The TMR spokeswoman said there is expected to be 576 jobs up for grabs and those eager to land one should keep tabs on several channels.

One is TMR's main page on the project which will carry details of contract winners and how to contact them.

Jobs will also pop up wherever those companies choose to advertise.

"Contractors and sub-contractors will also advertise positions themselves using their preferred channels such as job search sites, employment agencies, industry contacts and advertisements in The Gympie Times,” she said.

And it should be good news for Gympie residents and businesses.

Bumper to bumper traffic on the Bruce Highway north of Gympie this morning.
Bumper-to-bumper traffic on the highway north of Gympie is going to become a memory. Troy Jegers

The spokesman for the federal infrastructure department said the Queensland Government is required to establish a Local Industry Participation Plan for projects of more than $20 million.

"The successful tenderer for construction of the works is required to demonstrate how the contractor will engage local industry in the construction of the works,” he said.

All of which brings us to the political elephant in the room - by the time work can finally start on the project, the Federal Government could have had a major overhaul.

After the release of the latest polls last month, political pundits were speculating the LNP could be on the bad end of a political bloodbath.

So what happens to the project if this is how it plays out?

Shadow infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese said last week the project would stay on track if the ALP is elected.

ROCKHAMPTON VISIT: Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development Anthony Albanese, Queensland Senator Murray Watt, Labor Candidate for Capricornia Russell Robertson, Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke.
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development Anthony Albanese. Leighton Smith

"Labor will honour the infrastructure grants which were in the 2018 Budget but notes many are some time off from commencement,” he said.

He added that aside from Section D there had been no investment in the Bruce Highway from the Coalition since 2013.

"It took a Labor Government to get the Cooroy to Curra upgrade going after a decade of Coalition neglect.”

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Deputy PM Michael McCormack and Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien.

Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien welcomed Mr Albanese's words in regard to the "rock solid” bypass funding but reserved caution.

"We've all seen how Labor says one thing before an election and then does the complete opposite afterwards,” Mr O'Brien said.

”This is a critical project that will save lives and I want it to start, proceed and progress and finish as soon as possible.”