FEDERAL and Queensland governments announced plans on 5 July for road infrastructure programs across the country in a bid to boost freight productivity.

Queensland has committed $100 million each to two programs to support established and emerging industries and provide greater reliability on Queensland roads.

The Federal Government also announced it will spend more than $33 million on regional bridge and road improvements.

It has earmarked 16 projects ranging from the Lower Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, Rockhampton in Queensland and across to Western Australia at the Shire of Merredin.

More than $14.8 million will go to support improvements to roads used in freight routes, including the installation of intersections, widening roads, sealing roads and installing safety barriers – to increase the productivity and safety of heavy vehicle operations.

The projects include almost $3 million to upgrade Carcuma Road in Coorong District, South Australia, allowing larger, more efficient trucks to use the road. 

There is a more than $2.6 million upgrade for the Merredin Wheat Precinct in Western Australia, including intersection widening, closure of an intersection, auxiliary turning lanes, railway crossing widening and pavement strengthening. 

More than $2.5 million will go to upgrade a 3.4 kilometre section of Golconda Road between Little Forester River and North Blumont Road in Tasmania, including rebuilding key sections along with widening and other safety improvements.  

Bridge projects, include more than $18.8 million to upgrade old and worn timber bridges to modern structures that can take more weight, are better equipped for major weather events, and are safer for both vehicles and pedestrians.

These include $5 million to replace the timber bridge on Purga School Road with an industry-standard two-lane structure in Purga, Queensland.

More than $3 million will go to replace four single-lane bridges on Bass Valley Road in Poowong, Victoria. 

There will be more than $1 million spent to construct a two-way concrete bridge on Brownlow Hill Loop Road in Brownlow Hill, NSW.

Minister for Regional Development and Local Government, Kristy McBain MP said our regional road networks are ageing and under growing demand.

“Projects sharing in this $33.7 million will make these local road networks safer, and also ensure that heavier freight vehicles can utilise direct routes to deliver essential products and services,” Minister McBain said.

In Queensland, the $100 million Productivity Enhancement Program will focus on improving the road network to support heavy vehicle movements, including Over Size Over Mass movements associated with key existing and emerging energy industries. 

The $100 million Local Congestion Busting Program will target improvements to the road network to reduce congestion by mitigating traffic delays caused by “bottle necks”, particularly at intersections.

The program takes a ‘One Network’ approach, with projects to be identified by TMR and progressed via discussions with key stakeholders, including local councils.

The program will focus on lower cost upgrades at locations experiencing congestion.

As well as helping to reduce freight costs along key routes, the government says in its media release that the program will help people get home quicker.

Projects eligible for the programs could be a mix of state and council owned assets – an investment by TMR or it could take the form of a grant on a 50:50 matching basis.

Projects that reduce congestion and increase productivity will be considered.