[singlepic id=199 w=320 h=240 float=left] Work is officially underway on the $150 million Cairns southern access corridor project.

Queensland Senator Jan McLucas today joined Queensland Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace to turn the first sod on Cairns’ largest road construction project.

“This upgrade will give motorists a safer and less congested drive to Cairns,” Ms McLucas said.

“I am excited to see the first stage of the $150 million federally funded Cairns Bruce Highway Upgrade master plan come to fruition.

“Our vision includes additional lanes, overpasses and state-of-the-art traffic management systems.

“It means Cairns motorists will benefit from a reduction in congestion, better traffic flow and improved safety.”

Mr Wallace said the project was great news for local jobs and motorists.

“Once complete, 55,000 motorists who use the southern access into Cairns on week days will save nearly eight minutes in travel during peak hour,” Mr Wallace said.

“This project will create more than 400 jobs during the expected two-year construction period.

“The contractor has committed to sourcing more than 80 per cent of the construction resources locally to get this job done, which means 300 jobs for locals.”

Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt welcomed the works.

“A new pedestrian and cycle overbridge at Anderson Road will ensure students have safe access to and from nearby schools,” Mr Pitt said.

“Parents and students from the Forest Gardens and Mount Sheridan areas will also be provided with safer access to schools in Woree and Bayview Heights via a new service road that will separate their journey from the main highway traffic.

“While Ray Jones Drive from Mulgrave Road along to Chinaman Creek will become six lanes.

“The contractor and Transport and Main Roads will work together to minimise traffic disruptions during the construction period.

“Traffic signals, traffic controllers, variable message signage boards, speed restrictions and temporary detours will be used.”

The project will be carried out by joint venture BMD/Albem today successful contractor.

Construction is due for completion before the end of 2013.

Key elements of the upgrade include:

Forest Gardens/Sheehy Road

  • a half interchange at entrance to Forest Gardens
  • a service road from Foster Road through to Rigg Street at Woree
  • a dedicated pedestrian/cycle facilities on Forest Gardens overpass to enhance the link between White Rock and Forest Gardens Boulevard
  • closure of the QR open level rail crossing
  • upgrade around Kowinka Street
  • new pedestrian path from Forest Gardens through to Anderson Road

Anderson Road

  • closure of Anderson Road
  • two-way service roads on both sides of the highway to reconnect, separating local trips from highway traffic
  • signals removed from highway
  • open level rail crossing closed
  • new cul-de-sac on Loretta Avenue
  • pedestrian/cyclist overbridge to link Woree and White Rock
  • new pedestrian path from Anderson Road to Charlotte Close

Ray Jones Drive

  • Mulgrave Road overpass of Ray Jones Drive
  • new road co-ordinated with the western service road and Rigg Street
  • full access for Rigg Street to highway
  • six lanes through to Kate Street intersection