Another $50m contributed to get Rocky’s Ring Road rolling
INTENT on supercharging CQ's post-pandemic economic recovery, the Australian and Queensland Governments have unlocked $50 million in funding to move the $1 billion Rockhampton Ring Road closer to construction.
Anticipated to generate up to 800 jobs, the Rockhampton Ring Road project is jointly funded by the Federal Government ($800 million) and State Government ($200 million), with early works expected to begin in 2021 and construction to be completed by 2026.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the funding was an important step toward delivering the new Bruce Highway link.
"The Australian Government is unlocking $40 million to undertake geotechnical investigations, flood modelling, risk analysis and to also develop a staged delivery works package plan," Mr McCormack said.
"These projects are part of the Australian Government's $100 billion, 10-year infrastructure pipeline which will support our economy and create jobs for Queensland as it bounces back from COVID-19."
Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said the Ring Road would be a major undertaking once construction started, meaning jobs would flow from current upgrades on the Bruce Highway in the city's north and Capricorn Highway to the much larger $1 billion project.
"Because Queenslanders have stepped up and continue to manage the health response well that means the state government can continue to deliver Queensland's plan for recovery, which includes a $50 billion infrastructure guarantee, including this project " Mr Bailey said.
"These upgrades will beef-up the region's road network and provide that all-important freight efficiency for our freight industry and primary producers with a new 17.4-kilometre ring road the Capricorn Highway to the Bruce Highway at Yeppoon Road."
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said the project would create 780 jobs.
"Every single job we can support by getting shovels in the ground on infrastructure projects means more Queenslanders and their families have one less worry during these hard times and more cash flowing through local businesses doing it tough," Ms Landry said.
Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd said motorists who used the Bruce and Capricorn Highway's would notice a huge difference once the project was complete.
"The Ring Road will reduce travel times, allow motorists to avoid 19 sets of traffic lights through the CBD, reduce congestion, enhance freight efficiency and improve the reliance and connectivity of the road network, particularly during flooding," Mr O'Dowd said.
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said unlocking this early funding would mean early works were expected to start in mid-2021, and would be joined by another $1 billion in new and accelerated roads funding across Queensland announced during COVID-19.
"This level of investment is on a scale we've never seen before, with $1 billion in major road upgrades across the region, including the $157 million Rockhampton Northern Access Upgrade and $80 million Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road upgrade," Ms Lauga said.
"It's full steam ahead with this early funding, plus construction pedal to the metal on the northern access upgrade and happening consultation on the Rocky-Yeppoon Road upgrade."
Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke said with more than 5000 businesses calling the region home, the ring road would keep businesses moving and pave the way for more jobs in Central Queensland.
"The ring road will improve connectivity for our $4.8 billion economy. It'll mean families and businesses can get to our airport, defence base, hospital, emergency services, educational facilities, and entertainment and industrial precincts," Mr O'Rourke said.
"The road will provide a western link of the Bruce Highway extending from the Capricorn Highway (Nelson Street) in the south, through to Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road/Bruce Highway intersection in the north.
"It will also create better connections between Gracemere and Parkhurst, improve access to the Capricorn Coast in the east, and link our crucial resource and agriculture sectors to the west."