FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO DELIVER CONGESTION-BUSTING CAPTAIN COOK HIGHWAY PROJECT

The federal government will invest $287.2 million toward delivering the much-needed Captain Cook Highway project to bust congestion and improve road safety.

The funding for this game-changing project will be announced in tonight’s federal budget.

The project, linking the Cairns CBD to the Smithfield Bypass, will see significant upgrades at the three major roundabouts along the Captain Cook Highway.

It will also include additional in-and-outbound lanes between Airport Drive and the Yorkeys Knob roundabout.

The project will include significant intersection upgrades at Arnold Street, Whitfield Street, Tom McDonald Drive and Airport Avenue.

The project will also address significant congestion issues outside Mother of Good Counsel School via a planned pedestrian overpass.

Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said this game-changing project will bust congestion during morning and peak hours but more importantly will allow motorist to spend more time with their families.

He said the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads started initial scoping and planning works for the project in November, 2018.

“I am extremely proud to be able to deliver Cairns’ number one infrastructure project,” Mr Entsch said.

“This project will transform the link between Cairns and the Northern Beaches and improve the way of life for thousands of residents.

“I know for a fact motorists stuck in crippling congestion each morning and afternoon will 100 per cent welcome this announcement.

“This is about listening, acting and delivering for our community.”

Advance Cairns CEO Nick Trompf said the Captain Cook Highway project was one of the most significant roads announcement Cairns had seen.

“The Captain Cook Highway project was the number one infrastructure priority during last year’s Cairns TNQ Convoy to Canberra,” Mr Trompf said.

“Such a huge federal contribution – which we expect will be topped up with another $82.8m from the Queensland Government – will transform access between the northern beaches and the city.

“The upgrades this will fund will have tremendous economic, environmental and safety benefits.

“This is the first step towards creating a ‘ring road’ around Cairns – now we will redouble our efforts for the western leg by pursuing the Queensland Government to upgrade the Cairns Western Arterial Road.

“Our state budget submission released last month seeks $365.5 million to upgrade Cairns Western Arterial Road, including duplicating the road from Smithfield to Redlynch including the Barron River bridge at Caravonica.”

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the project will provide a boost to businesses and create jobs in Far North Queensland.

“The project  will connect Cairns Airport and port to the region’s critical agricultural areas such as the Atherton Tablelands, Cape York Peninsula and Mossman,” Mr McCormack said.

“This project is absolutely crucial to enabling Cairns’ continued development as an export and services hub.

“This capacity-boosting project will address the significant congestion on the Captain Cook Highway that is constraining access to the port from the north and west of Cairns, as well as between the port and the airport.”

Mr Entsch said he expected the Queensland Government would contibute its 20 per cent towards stage two when its budget is handed down in June, 2019.

Hannah Maguire