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Captain Cook Highway - Smithfield Bypass Project


Smithfield Bypass Alignment video

The Captain Cook Highway — Smithfield Bypass project will construct a new 3.8km long road between McGregor Road roundabout and the Cairns Western Arterial Road (CWAR) and Captain Cook Highway (CCH) as an alternative route to the Captain Cook Highway.

Construction commenced in December 2018.


Captain Cook Highway between McGregor Road and the intersection of  CWAR / CCH in Smithfield.


Construction is expected to be completed late 2021, weather permitting.


The Smithfield Bypass provides vital infrastructure for the northern beaches of Cairns and meets the strategic transport needs of the area into the future. The new road will deliver a safer, more efficient travel route for motorists and industry along this section of the CCH.
The bypass will improve traffic conditions on the Smithfield road network by addressing congestion on the section of the CCH between McGregor Road and the intersection of CCH and CWAR. In particular the Smithfield and CCH and CWAR roundabouts. Traffic improvements will be achieved by:

  • Upgrade to a four-legged signalised intersection at the existing roundabout at CWAR and CCH. The new intersection will have the capacity to effectively manage increased traffic volumes now and into the future.
  • Removing through traffic from the local road network. This will significantly reduce the volume of traffic using Smithfield roundabout by approximately half the current level. With reduced volume of traffic Smithfield roundabout will once again operate effectively as originally designed. 

All intersections in Smithfield will benefit from the network connectivity as the majority of through traffic on the CCH will be removed from the Smithfield local road network. By connecting the Bypass road to the intersection of CCH and CWAR motorists are given the opportunity to choose to continue along either CCH or CWAR. 


The design and construct contract was awarded to Highway Construction / Albem Operations Joint Venture (HAJV).


$164 million (Queensland Government).

North Queensland Region - Far North District

Project info

Project construction timeline
  • April 2017 – Building Queensland business case approved
  • July 2017 – Project funding announced
  • July 2018- Contract awarded to Highway Albem Joint Venture
  • December 2018 – Early construction work commenced
  • November 2019 – Preliminary design released
  • April 2020 – Major works commence at Cairns Western Arterial Road intersection
  • June 2020 – Stages works for Cairns Western Arterial Road intersection stage 2 of 5
  • Late 2021 – Construction completion, weather permitting

Community Liaison Groups

The project's two community liaison groups will continue to meet with the Project team throughout the life of the project. These forums are for community members and local business representatives to provide input  and share information about the Project's progress. 
Preliminary design released

Captain Cook Highway primarily design

Captain Cook Highway – Smithfield Bypass Project Preliminary Design

Smithfield bypass map

The Smithfield Bypass is being undertaken using a Design and Construct contract. This means that the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) will work closely the contractor to finalise the design and complete construction. The design process allows for ongoing innovation to occur throughout the project phases.

Investigation undertaken through the early design stage, found, progressing a planned future stage of the Smithfield Bypass now, rather than in the years to come, will bring major benefits to network functionality.

Traffic modelling for the revised design shows an overall better performing traffic network along both the Smithfield Bypass, and the CCH between McGregor Road and the intersection of CCH and CWAR. 

Key features of the preliminary design:

  • a future stage of the Bypass design is realised now rather than in 15 to 20 years
  • improved network functionality
  • enhanced safety outcomes
  • improved flood immunity for motorists
  • reduced construction and cost savings.

Key features of the design layout*

  • Upgrade of the existing roundabout at the intersection of CWAR and CCH to a signalised intersection allowing for extra lanes to increase capacity
  • Four lanes on the approaches and departures at the southern connection 
  • A new bridge will be built at Avondale Creek and the two-lane bypass will continue north to McGregor Road
  • Two-lanes through to the northern connection to the CCH at McGregor Road
  • Entry and exit ramps will be built at the northern end
  • A new bridge over McGregor Road roundabout
  • Merge and diverge lanes will provide motorists access to and from the new Bypass just north of McGregor Road roundabout.

*Note: certain aspects of the scope included in the Preliminary Design layout may change as the project undertakes the detailed design as part of the design and construct contract.

Additional works and funding

Additional funding and works include the extension of the dual carriageway from the southern connection of the bypass along CWAR and investigate the installation of new traffic signals at the intersection of Skyrail Drive. 

Local participation

TMR is committed to maximising opportunities for local business and people to get involved in delivering the Smithfield Bypass Project. 

To register your interest in supplying or working on the Smithfield Bypass Project, contact us.

Current works:

  • Major works are underway with stage one of a 5 stage works program to upgrade Caravonica roundabout to a signalised intersection.
  • Stage 1 will construct a new, temporary roundabout, located to the south of the existing Caravonica roundabout.
  • Day works will occur between 7am and 5pm Monday to Saturday.  Majority of works will be  completed at night due to the proximity of live traffic.
  • Disruptions will be kept to a minimum. 
  • At the completion of each stage changes to the way motorists travel through this intersection will be updated via regular Notices of Works.
  • Traffic detours and signage will be in place and motorists are advised to follow directional signage while allowing extra travel time.
  • Completion of stage one is scheduled for Tuesday 30 June 2020, subject to weather conditions. 
  • Installation of the water main and relocation of public utilities continues.
  • Vegetation clearing, drainage improvements and construction of embankments at the northern end of the new bypass road where Captain Cook Highway (CCH) intersects with McGregor Road continue. Bridge piling works are also underway at this location. 

Works completed

  • Bridge piling works at Avondale Creek
  • pre-loading culverts 
  • relocation of water mains
  • relocation of public utility services
  • Construction of piling pads and pilings works for the construction of two bridges
  • vegetation clearing and ground surface treatment prior to levelling and compaction
  • water quality monitoring
  • noise and dust monitoring along the bypass alignment.

Media gallery

Captain Cook Highway – Smithfield Bypass Project narrated flyover video

Show/hide transcript

Smithfield Bypass traffic modelling microsimulation

Smithfield Bypass bridge piling timelapse

Latest news

Project updates

Contact details

Free email update and contact information

Subscribe to the free email update service to receive updates about project activities and construction. For more information about the project, please contact the project team.

Phone: 1800 187 937
Post: Smithfield Bypass Project
Department of Transport and Main Roads
Far North District
PO Box 6185
Cairns QLD 4870
Last updated
31 March 2020