Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Work will start this month on upgrades to bridges over the Little River north of Dimbulah and Routh Creek near Georgetown, bolstering heavy vehicle access along the Gulf Developmental Road.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said more than $2 million will be invested carrying out strengthening works and a trial of reinforced sheets under Routh Creek Bridge, as well as concrete works on Little River Bridge.

“These upgrades are part of Queensland road network upgrades and the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program Round 6, jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments,” Mr McCormack said.

“Together with the Queensland Government, we recently announced a jointly-funded $185 million package to upgrade key outback roads, including the Gulf Developmental Road.

“As we battle COVID-19, these upgrades will ensure the safety and reliability of bridges and culverts on the state-controlled road network, with a particular focus on heavy vehicle routes, while also paving the way for economic recovery on the other side of the pandemic.”

Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said projects like this and others brought forward as part of the $185 million package for outback works would provide a huge gain for primary producers, families and freight.

“The Gulf Developmental Road is the gateway for trucks and tourism to the Gulf of Carpentaria,” Mr Bailey said.

“Right now many industries will be facing all sorts of challenges with coronavirus, so it’s important we continue to roll out road projects so communities can bounce back quicker when we come out the other end.”

North Queensland-based Senator Susan McDonald said the Gulf Developmental Road was Queensland’s northern-most fully sealed east-west road, providing connections to the Port of Karumba and Cairns.

“The route is a strategic tourism route, forming part of the Savannah Way tourist drive, which links Cairns to Broome in Western Australia,” Senator McDonald said.

“The main agricultural activity within the Gulf region is livestock production and local producers rely on the Gulf Developmental Road to move cattle to feedlots, saleyards and processing facilities at Charters Towers and the Port of Karumba.”

Etheridge Shire Mayor Barry Hughes said economic development was paramount for rural and regional areas such as the Gulf region of Queensland.

“Etheridge Shire welcomes wholeheartedly these types of upgrades to important road infrastructure assets to maintain safety standards, as well as strengthening strategic road linkages for proposed projects across the Shire and Gulf region as a whole,” Cr Hughes said.

“Etheridge Shire expresses thanks to both Australian and Queensland governments for recognising the importance of such projects, and assisting to secure the economic future of our shire.”
Works are expected to be complete before the end of the year, weather permitting.

To ensure work crews can access all parts of the bridges safely, temporary intermittent closures will be required during these works. Visual Messaging Signs will be in place advising drivers of any planned closures.

The projects have been jointly funded, with the Australian and Queensland governments each committing $1,087,500.