Field investigations are underway on the Captain Cook Highway as planning for a $359 million program of road upgrades continues.
The news marks the latest milestone in delivering the Captain Cook Highway upgrade (Cairns CBD to Smithfield), which is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments on an 80:20 basis.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said the project would identify, plan and deliver upgrades to improve safety, reduce trip times, and better connect freight and communities along the highway.
“The field investigations will include gathering initial geotechnical data and topographical surveys along key areas of the corridor,” Mr Joyce said.
“Careful planning and design are vital to ensure a successful outcome for the project, which is critical to better connect the Cairns Port and Cairns Airport with key agricultural producing areas within the Atherton Tablelands, Cape York Peninsula and Mossman.
“This milestone brings us another step closer to realising the benefits of this project, which we are getting done to provide locals, tourists and freight with a better drive along this route.
“Since 2013 the Australian Government has committed to delivering more than $14 billion in regional road improvements across Queensland, supporting more than 30,000 jobs and boosting the economy.”
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said it was pleasing to see initial works on the Captain Cook Highway upgrade project get underway.
“The Captain Cook Highway upgrades will reduce congestion, improve freight efficiency and access to gateways while also improving road safety,” Mr Entsch said.
“The project will deliver significant and improved upgrades along the Captain Cook Highway, from the Cairns CBD to Smithfield.
“But more importantly, it will bust congestion, especially during morning and afternoon peak hours along the route for the 45,000 motorists who use the road daily.”
Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government was committed to delivering better road and transport infrastructure in the Far North.
“The Captain Cook Highway is critical for Cairns, so it’s important that we continue to progress with planning to improve safety, reduce congestion and prepare for the growth in the region,” Mr Bailey said.
“That is why we are delivering over $1.7 billion in road and transport infrastructure in the Far North region, as part of our sixth record road and transport plan.”
State Barron River MP Craig Crawford said the Captain Cook Highway upgrade would build on the success of the recently completed Smithfield Bypass project.
“The Smithfield Bypass has been a gamechanger for locals and I’m proud to have delivered such an important piece of infrastructure for my community,” Mr Crawford said.
“Just this week we also announced the final option for the Cairns Western Arterial Road duplication project between Redlynch Connector Road and Captain Cook Highway.
State Cairns MP Michael Healy said a package of works on the Captain Cook Highway between Airport Avenue and James Street was also progressing.
“As part of the Cairns Ring Road, we’re delivering further safety improvements on the Captain Cook Highway between Airport Avenue and James Street,” Mr Healy said.
“Early works are expected to start in June, weather and construction conditions permitting.
“With a growing city, it is essential that we continue to invest in essential infrastructure and the Cairns Ring Road is a key part of that infrastructure.”
Geotechnical testing will start in the coming weeks and will continue for about six weeks to assist in further planning.
For further information visit: www.tmr.qld.gov.au/projects/cairns-ring-road-cairns-cbd-to-smithfield.