Crucial early scoping and planning activities will soon kick off in Cairns paving the way for work to get underway on the $359 million Captain Cook Highway project.
The Morrison Government has committed up to $287.2 million towards the $359 million Captain Cook Highway project in partnership with the Queensland Government.
Federal funding for this region-defining project was announced in this year’s federal budget.
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the Morrison Government had approved an initial $4.5 million in funding to keep preparations for the project moving forward.
He said construction timeframes will be confirmed as part of the scoping and planning works.
“I am extremely proud to be able to deliver Cairns’ number one infrastructure project,” Mr Entsch said.
“The Captain Cook Highway project will reduce congestion; improve freight efficiency and access to gateways while also improving road safety.
“It will deliver upgrades along the Captain Cook Highway, from the Cairns CBD to the Kennedy Highway intersection.”
LNP Candidate for Cairns Sam Marino said it was fantastic to see works for this congesting-busting project get underway, less than 10 months after it was first announced.
“There is absolutely no reason why we cannot see shovels in the ground in the second half of 2020 or early 2021,” Mr Marino said.
“This project will drive jobs and boost the local economy but more importantly it will improve road safety for all users.”
LNP Candidate for Barron River Linda Cooper said the Captain Cook Highway project will have enormous benefits for northern beaches residents.
“This project will transform the link between Cairns and the Northern Beaches and improve the way of life for thousands of residents,” Ms Cooper said.
“I know for a fact motorists stuck in crippling congestion each morning and afternoon will 100 per cent welcome this announcement and it is fantastic to see initial works getting underway.”
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the project will better connect people with jobs and services and goods with markets, getting residents and visitors in the Cairns region to where they need to be sooner and safer.
“This is about busting congestion on the Captain Cook Highway which is constraining access to the Cairns Port from the north and west and access between the Cairns Port and the Cairns Airport,” Mr McCormack said.
Advance Cairns CEO Nick Trompf welcomed the funding announcement to begin planning for the project.
He said the $4.5m allocated enabled the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads to now get on with the job of doing the detailed planning necessary.”
“The Captain Cook Highway upgrade is the most urgently-needed road upgrade in Cairns and is a centrepiece in establishing a ‘ring road,’ Mr Trompf said.
“It will be a complex project given it is not a greenfield exercise and the highway will need to remain open throughout the works.
“Therefore getting the initial planning right will be critical to ensuring the upgrade meets the needs of the region and is delivered on time and on budget.”
Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the Far North Queensland economy was being hampered by a lack of easy access to connect the Cairns Airport and Cairns Port with the region’s agricultural producing areas including the Atherton Tablelands, Cape York Peninsula and Mossman.
“By filling that gap in the regional road network, the Captain Cook Highway project will pave the way for the continued development of Cairns as an export and service hub,” Mr Bailey said