July 22: Work has wrapped up on a major upgrade of the Capricorn Highway between Rockhampton and Gracemere.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said the jointly funded $74.99 million project has improved travel times and safety between the Yeppen Roundabout and Gracemere.
“This announcement is another example of hard-working Michelle Landry and Ken O’Dowd’s advocacy delivering for the people of this region, securing funding for the infrastructure they need and deserve,” the Deputy Prime Minister said. “The Federal Government’s record $110 billion infrastructure investment plan is delivering on our commitment to securing the nation’s recovery and keeping our communities safe.”
State Assistant Regional Roads Minister Bruce Saunders said the project was one of several major road upgrades transforming Rockhampton.
“Gracemere is a growing community so the extra capacity on the highway was needed and I’m sure will be welcomed by locals who drive that road every day,” Mr Saunders said.
“Projects like this aren’t just important from a road safety and congestion busting point of view, they also support local jobs and contractors during construction, which is part of Queensland’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.”
Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said motorists had seen this important freight and commuter link on the Capricorn Highway transformed.
“The Capricorn Highway duplication project focused on addressing the capacity of the highway between Rockhampton and Gracemere to cater for traffic volumes that exceed 18,000 vehicles per day,” Ms Landry said.
“The completed upgrade to a four-lane highway has increased road capacity and reduced travel times, particularly during morning and afternoon peaks, creating a more efficient commute for motorists.”
State Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke thanked the community for their patience during the works, which began in late 2019.
“The project team has progressively opened completed sections over the past six months, and I’m glad our community can now enjoy the project’s full benefits,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“Gracemere locals will now start to see some early preparations happening for the 100% state-funded Lawrie Street upgrade, and north of town the Bruce Highway upgrade around the Rocky-Yeppoon Road turnoff is getting close to finishing too.
“We’ve still got the big one to come though, with construction of the Ring Road.
“The Ring Road will be one of the biggest projects Rocky’s ever seen and will be massive for our economy while construction is underway.
“When it opens, which is expected to be sometime in 2026, it will transform Rocky’s road network with a new 14.7-kilometre highway connecting the Capricorn Highway to the Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road/Bruce Highway intersection.”
Federal Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said the project also delivered major upgrades to intersections at Fairy Bower Road/Old Gracemere Road and McLaughlin Street.
“These works were funded under the Federal Government’s $600 million Northern Australia Roads Program,” Mr O’Dowd said.
“This program has delivered upgrades to high-priority roads across northern Queensland and indeed other jurisdictions that are essential to the movement of people and freight to support the region’s economic development.”
State Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said the highway upgrade reflects the growth in that area, both around Gracemere and further west.
“The $15 million investment by the Palaszczuk Government is a clear sign of the focus we have on regional roads, regional drivers and regional economies.
“We will continue to invest in Central Queensland roads, including in my own electorate of Keppel, where millions of dollars are to be spent on significant upgrades to the Yeppoon to Rockhampton and the Emu Park to Rockhampton roads.”
Since last December, TMR has opened the new, two-lane, eastbound carriageway, including the new bridge at Scrubby Creek and more recently, the signalised intersection of the Capricorn Highway with Fairy Bower Road and Old Gracemere Road.
The Project has been jointly funded, with the Australian Government contributing $59.99 million and the Queensland Government contributing the remaining $15 million.