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Eton Range, Peak Downs Highway


Construction is underway on the $189.2 million Eton Range Realignment Project on the Peak Downs Highway, west of Mackay. Fulton Hogan were awarded the contract in December 2015 and started construction in April 2016.


Eton Range, Peak Downs Highway.


June 2019.


The Eton Range Realignment project is aimed at improving safety, accessibility and freight efficiency on the Peak Downs Highway. Eton Range is currently accessible to B-Double vehicles (up to 26 metres in length) and is part of the only designated B-double route from Mackay, west to the Northern Bowen Basin.

By making improvements to road geometry and grade, the Eton Range is being upgraded to a standard capable of accommodating type 1 road trains (vehicles up to 36.5 metres in length). Once completed, the project will reduce the need to close the range for oversized vehicles and provide more opportunities for motorists to safely overtake heavy vehicles.


$189.2 million.

The project is part of a $167.67 million commitment by the federal government to improve safety on the Peak Downs Highway.

Central Region - Mackay Whitsunday District

Project info

The project involves widening from 2 to 4 lanes, a partial realignment of the existing range crossing, a split carriageway to separate traffic and  reduction in grade. To widen part of the existing range, a reinforced earth embankment is being constructed which will be 780 metres long and 45 metres tall at its highest point.

Due to the complex nature of the project, field works and an earthworks trial were undertaken to inform the design and procurement process. The works included including survey, geotechnical, environmental and archaeological investigations to consider:

  • safety measures to reduce speeds on the steep descent
  • methods to reduce driving demands on heavy vehicle operators
  • processes to keep the Peak Downs Highway open during construction.

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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
  • June 2019: Expected project completion

Environmental documents

In September 2015 the Federal Department of the Environment determined the Eton Range Realignment Project a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) due to potential significant impacts on koalas (EPBC Ref 2015/7552). The EPBC Referral Documentation included the following documents:

In December 2015 the Department of Transport and Main Roads then supplied the Australian Department of the Environment with preliminary documentation outlining how the department plans to mitigate these impacts. The Preliminary Documentation included the following: 

Interested persons and organisations were invited to comment on the Preliminary Documentation in writing between 22 December 2015 and 21 January 2016. No public submissions were received by the department during this period.

In March 2016 the Department of Environment granted the project approval with conditions under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

EPBC Act Compliance Reports

Condition 16 of the approval requires the department to prepare and publish an annual report that addresses compliance with each of the conditions of the approval.

Koala Research Study

As part of the approved mitigation strategy, the department has engaged CQUniversity to undertake a koala research study of the Clarkes-Connors Range.

Last updated
13 June 2018