WORKING ON OUR ROADS: Minister Mark Bailey at the Gregory Hwy roadworks.
WORKING ON OUR ROADS: Minister Mark Bailey at the Gregory Hwy roadworks. Contributed

Progressive updates to increase freight efficiency

IT IS hoped progressive updates on two major roads in Central Queensland will increase freight efficiency in the area.

Queensland Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports Minister Mark Bailey visited Emerald this week and said work on the Gregory Highway between Emerald and Clermont was well under way.

The $25.5-million project will deliver a series of new intersections, lane widening and overtaking lanes.

The project has been jointly funded under Round 4 of the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program.

A total of 50 direct jobs will be supported during the construction phase of the project, which will allow Type 2 road trains to use the road safely and efficiently.

"There is a lot of work under way on the Gregory Highway, some of it that has already been completed,” Mr Bailey said.

"Two heavy vehicle stopping places north of Capella were completed in 2016 and the Gregory Highway and Retro Corry Road intersection upgrade was completed earlier this month.

"Construction works to deliver a new heavy vehicle decoupling site, together with the Emerald Downs Road intersection upgrade and connecting overtaking lane, are on track to be completed in March 2017.

"Widening of about nine kilometres of the highway between Capella and Clermont is also advancing with construction also expected to be completed in March, weather permitting.”

Mr Bailey said other key infrastructure upgrades would also be delivered as part of the program.

The upgrades include the Cotherstone Road intersection, another overtaking lane south of Capella and culvert replacements at Retreat Creek and Theresa Creek overflows north of Emerald.

Work is also under way to seal a 20km stretch of the Blackwater-Rolleston Rd.

"Twenty kilometres of sealing, worth over $5million is set to be completed by June, we've done 12 and a half already,” Mr Bailey said.

With road safety a major issue on the agenda for Central Queensland, the Minister said the visit allowed him to see first-hand the conditions of the road.

"Being in the region and getting a sense of the area is really important as the Minister for Main Roads,” he said.

"You get a strong sense of what's happening when you are on the ground and that helps inform my decisions.”

Mr Bailey also said the State Government was working with the council to progressively work on the Clermont-Alpha Rd.

"We've been putting a lot of money into roads in this area but the Clermont-Alpha Rd is very long piece of unsealed road with fairly low usage,” Mr Bailey said.

"Our priority has been economic development in the area because type 2 road trains on that north-south corridor are really critical to jobs and economical development in the area.

"That's why we are prioritising investment on the Gregory Highway and a few other areas.”

The minister was briefed by the Central Highlands Regional Council on the Yamala feeder roads strategy report, the Central Queensland Inland Port project, the agribusiness precinct and the meatworks proposal.


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