[singlepic id=199 w=320 h=240 float=left]Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese today joined with the Queensland Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace to release a 30 year transport blueprint for Cairns, with work to deliver on this vision is set to start as early as this year.

Mr Albanese said the Cairns-Bruce Highway Upgrade Master Plan is the product of almost two years of extensive public consultations and a comprehensive assessment of the City’s existing and future needs.

“The end product is a vision of a sustainable and vibrant community underpinned by modern, well planned transport infrastructure – a Cairns that continues to be a great place to live, work and raise a family,” said Mr Albanese.

“It’s a plan not just for the next three years but for the next three decades.

“The Gillard Labor Government is serious about restoring national leadership to the development of our nation’s cities. We understand this country’s future prosperity will in large part depend on having cities that work properly.

“Here in Cairns we’ve been working with the local community as well as the Council and State authorities to put in place a long term plan that anticipates rather than merely reacts to the growing demands on the City’s infrastructure.

“But just as the development of the Master Plan required the active involvement of all levels of government, making its multi-billion dollar vision a reality will likewise require a high degree of cooperation and a shared financial commitment.”

During his visit to the Far North, Mr Albanese took the opportunity to announce tenders for the design and construction of stage one of the project to be commissioned as part of the Bruce Highway Master Plan will be called in September.

Mr Albanese said Stage One of the Cairns Bruce Highway Upgrade will realign and widen the Highway between Ray Jones Drive and Sheehy Road, with $150 million in Federal funding already allocated for this purpose.

“This upgrade is the most significant road project currently planned for the Cairns region and will go a long way towards tackling the peak hour congestion experienced by motorists heading into the town from the southern suburbs,” said Mr Albanese.

“A major positive to come out of all the planning work undertaken during the development of the Master Plan has been a significant reduction in the number of properties that will be affected by this upgrade compared to initial estimates.

“This outcome is a tribute to the very strong and persistent representations from local MPs such as Jim Turnour and Curtis Pitt.”

Stage one of the Cairns Bruce Highway Upgrade will not require the resumption of any homes. Across the entire city, the planning undertaken has managed to reduce impacts to some 100 homes over 30 years.

In addition to the work being carried as part of Stage One the 30 year Cairns Bruce Highway Upgrade Master Plan also includes:

  • Three full interchanges at Deppeler Road, Bentley Park and Foster Road
  • A new road alignment south of Edmonton (to the eastern side of the existing highway)
  • A new alignment at Wrights Creek
  • Pedestrian and cycle overpasses at Mill and Robert roads
  • Pedestrian and cycle underpasses at Skeleton Creek, Blackfellow Creek, Collinson Creek and Stoney Creek
  • A safe commuter cycleway
  • A dedicated busway to dramatically improve public transport and provide emergency services access in the event of a traffic incident.

Cairns is home to some 125,000 residents, and in just the last five years more than 7,500 people have moved to the City.

[singlepic id=111 w=320 h=240 float=left]The Cairns Transit Network is a Queensland Government funded planning study to identify and protect a long-term public transport system for the city, from Palm Cove to Gordonvale and west to Redlynch.

Minister Wallace was pleased with the progress that has been made to map out this long term transport plan for Cairns.

“Today we deliver a blueprint for forward planning that ensures road and public transport infrastructure keeps pace with the rapid growth in Cairns,” said Mr Wallace.

“The integrated road and public transport vision is the culmination of years of work by planners and engineers in consultation with the community to ensure the region continues to prosper.

Federal Member for Leichhardt Jim Turnour said the $150 million injection was expected to generate more than 400 local jobs.

“This is a great step forward for Cairns and the surrounding areas and it’s really great to deliver on this critical election commitment for the region,” Mr Turnour said.

“The final southern access alignment into Cairns is a hybrid of the three options presented to the public in late 2009 and I am pleased this option minimises the impact on the local community.”

State Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said the Bruce Highway Upgrade and Cairns Transit Network projects are critical to the future economic development and growing transport needs of the region.

“The master plan establishes the multimodal corridor needs of our region for the next 30 years and provides a degree of certainty to landholders and developers about which corridors are no longer on the table,” Mr Pitt said.

“Residents in the southern suburbs of Cairns want to see action on the Bruce Highway. Today’s announcement means we are doing just that and we are getting on with the job.”

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