Skip links and keyboard navigation

Eton Range, Peak Downs Highway


The Peak Downs Highway is a key transport route connecting the regional city of Mackay to the mining and agricultural areas of Central Queensland. The Eton Range is used heavily by oversize vehicles servicing mining and agricultural industries, as well as general motorists travelling to and from work centres. 

The Eton Range Realignment Project will upgrade the existing range crossing to provide a split carriage way, with two lanes in each direction. The new alignment will have a reduction in grade to improve safety for heavy vehicles, and other measures to help control approach and departure speeds.


Eton Range, Peak Downs Highway.


Late 2019.

  • Improved safety
  • Increased efficiency and capacity of a key transport route
  • The ability to accommodate type 1 road trains (vehicles up to 36.5 m in length)
  • A reduction in closures due to the movement of oversize vehicles or traffic incidents
  • Catering for future growth and projected vehicle numbers

$189.2 million.

The project is part of a $167.17 million commitment by the federal government to improve safety on the Peak Downs Highway.

Central Region - Mackay Whitsunday District

Project info

Working with the existing terrain to achieve the new alignment poses a complex geotechnical challenge. The most critical part of the project involves constructing a reinforced earth embankment to widen part of the existing range, which will be 780 metres long and 45 metres tall at its highest point.

Due to the nature of the project, extensive investigations including survey works and an earthworks trial were undertaken prior to construction to help inform the design and tender processes. The findings of these investigations are now being used to solve construction challenges on site.  

The main construction activities on the project include:

  • significant excavation and earthworks
  • the construction of several reinforced earth embankments
  • regular blasting works.

The project requires significant construction activity in an environmentally sensitive area due to existing koala populations, which has been factored into both the new alignment design and construction processes.

Media gallery

Project plans

Project map

Features of the new alignment:

Features of the new alignment
View larger image

Construction progress July 2018

Overview of site looking south (towards Nebo)
Overview of site looking south (towards Nebo).

The largest Reinforced Earth Embankment under construction
The largest Reinforced Earth Embankment under construction.

Overview of works looking north (towards Mackay)
Overview of works looking north (towards Mackay).

Latest news

The construction process requires 3 stages of traffic management. The current stage is shown below.

Traffic management stage 1B
View larger image

Although the works are being undertaken offline, reduced speed limits will remain in place throughout the works due to changed traffic conditions and regular movement of construction traffic in and out of work areas.

Single lane operation may be required intermittently, and regular blasting works require the range to be closed in both directions for a short period of time.

Subscribe to receive regular updates, traffic impacts and project notifications:

Phone 4951 8555

Key milestones

  • 2009: Surveys completed
  • January 2013: Detailed design commenced
  • November 2013: Business case approved
  • October 2014: Earthworks trial commenced
  • August 2015: Detailed design completed
  • March–September 2015: Tender process
  • December 2015: Earth works trial completed and award of successful tender
  • April 2016: Construction commenced
  • Mid 2019: New alignment available to traffic
  • Late 2019: Expected project completion

Eton Range Realignment—environmental impacts

Last updated
15 January 2019