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Bruce Highway – Tiaro Flood Immunity Upgrade

Overview:

The Bruce Highway – Tiaro Flood Immunity Upgrade (TFIU) will deliver a new 2-lane section of Bruce Highway, to the east of Tiaro.

The project will increase the flood immunity, safety and efficiency of the Bruce Highway and future-proof the road to cater for growing traffic volumes. It will also remove a large portion of heavy vehicles from the Tiaro township, improving safety and liveability for residents.

Location:

Bruce Highway, Tiaro Queensland

Bruce Highway flooding at Tiaro (Chinaman Creek Bridge) 2013

Tiaro Flood map 

The bypass corridor is a study area around 500 metres wide and 8 km long. The corridor leaves the existing Bruce Highway south of BlackSwamp Creek culvert (south of Tiaro) and travels east of the township before connecting back to the existing Bruce Highway north of Wilsons Road/Dairy Road (north of Tiaro). The new highway will be within this corridor.

The bypass corridor was selected to avoid the Mary River floodplain, minimise land impacts and reduce construction costs.

Completion:

The project is currently in the planning phase. Design and construction time frames will be confirmed as the project progresses.

Benefits:
  • Increased flood immunity
    The new highway will bypass 3 flood affected sites on the existing highway and provide flood immunity for up to a 1 in 100 year event.

  • Improved road safety
    The new highway will separate highway traffic from local traffic and bypass over 50 intersections and accesses along the existing highway, significantly reducing the collision risk.

  • Improved traffic efficiency
    The new highway will provide free-flowing traffic conditions with a posted speed limit of 100km/h.

  • Future-proofing
    The new highway will be designed to cater for future traffic growth.

  • Improved amenity and liveability
    The project will remove a large portion of heavy freight traffic from the town centre, reducing congestion and traffic noise and improving visual amenity and ambience.
Funding:

The Australian and Queensland governments have allocated $107 million in the Bruce Highway Upgrade Program for the Tiaro Flood Immunity Upgrade. The Australian Government has committed up to $85.6 million and the Queensland Government has committed up to $21.4 million.

Regions:
North Coast and Wide Bay-Burnett Region - Wide Bay-Burnett District

Project info

Background

The Bruce Highway at Tiaro contains three flood zones, variable speed limits (including a 40km/h school zone), a signalised pedestrian crossing, over 50 direct property accesses and intersections and a mix of local and through highway traffic.

Flood related highway closures at Tiaro lead to disruption of freight and passenger traffic, with no diversion route. These closures have a significant impact on the national road transport network and result in the isolation of the Tiaro township during significant flood events. Motorist reports suggest delays at Tiaro during peak travel times result in substantial queues on the highway in both directions.

In 2019, TMR completed early investigations into options for addressing these issues, as part of the Preliminary Evaluation stage of the Queensland Government's Project Assessment Framework. An evaluation was undertaken to compare the performance of 2 options:

  • an upgrade of the existing highway at the flood-affected locations
  • construction of a new highway bypassing Tiaro to the east of the township.

The bypass option was found to represent better value for money, deliver more benefits, and have greater community support, than the existing highway upgrade option. 

How was the decision made?

TMR evaluated the options to compare how an existing highway upgrade option performed against a bypass option.  The evaluation considered how well the options met the project objectives of flood immunity, safety, capacity and efficiency, minimising environmental impact and achieving value for money. TMR also considered feedback from project stakeholders such as elected representatives and the Tiaro community.

Assessment against project objectives

The table below summarises the outcomes of the assessment against project objectives. Overall, the bypass option significantly outperformed the existing highway upgrade option. 

Project objectives Existing highway upgrade option Bypass option
Flood immunity
  • Improved flood immunity
  • Improved flood immunity
Safety
  • Limited safety improvement:
    • Improved alignment
  • Significant safety improvement: 
    • Separation of local and through traffic
    • Significant reduction in the number of intersections
Capacity and efficiency
  • Limited improvement: 
    • Variable speeds (40, 50, 60 and 100km/h)
    • Frequent intersections 
    • Signalised pedestrian crossing
    • The upgrade would become unnecessary with future 4-lane upgrade between Curra and Maryborough
 
  • Significant improvement:
    • Improved speed limit (100km/h)
    • Pedestrian crossings not required
    • Provision for overtaking lanes 
    • Bypass aligns with the ultimate planning for a future 4-lane upgrade between Curra and Maryborough
 
Environmental impact
  • High impact on creek crossings 
  • Limited impact on undeveloped land 
  • Limited amenity improvements in Tiaro
 
  • Low impact on creek crossings
  • Significant impact on undeveloped land
  • Significant amenity improvement in Tiaro 
 
Value for money
  • Significant future cost to upgrade to 4 lanes
  • Estimated costs significantly outweigh estimated benefits
  • Not economically justified. 
  • Reduced future cost to upgrade to 4 lanes
  • Estimated benefits significantly outweigh estimated costs
  • Economically justified. 
 

Community feedback

An initial round of consultation with the Tiaro community occurred in early 2019, where 87 feedback forms were received. Of the respondents: 

  • 47% supported a bypass. Many respondents in this group felt a bypass would result in improved liveability and reduced congestion and safety issues. 
  • 40% of respondents supported an upgrade to the existing highway. Many respondents in this group were concerned about potential economic impacts from a bypass. 
  • 13% of respondents did not nominate a preference for either option. 

Although the majority of respondents supported the bypass option, there was concern about potential economic impacts. This has been a major consideration for TMR and TMR will work actively with the local government and the Tiaro community to try and address this concern throughout the project’s development. 

Current status

The project is currently in the Business Case Development stage of the Queensland Government's Project Assessment Framework. 

TMR has identified a bypass corridor study area to the east of Tiaro for the new highway. The project team will need to undertake further detailed investigations to develop a design for the new highway.

These investigations will include:

  • consultation with the community, local government, businesses and other stakeholders to inform the draft design for the bypass
  • an assessment of different highway alignment options within the identified bypass corridor
  • technical and environmental investigations to inform alignment options and the draft design for the bypass. 

TMR will seek approval from the Australian Government (funding partner) on the project scope and draft design before proceeding to a detailed design. 

Timeline

Once a draft design for the new highway has been developed, the TFIU project will move into the detailed design stage.

Construction timeframes will need to be confirmed when the detailed design is nearing completion. However, at this early stage, it is anticipated the project could be completed in 2024, weather permitting.

Community info

Project updates and flyers

Consultation

TMR wants the Tiaro community to be actively involved in the TFIU project. The project team will keep the community informed of the project’s progress and will provide opportunities for the Tiaro community and other stakeholders to provide input and feedback on the project.

Find out how to engage with the project

How has feedback been considered to date?

Feedback from initial consultation in early 2019 showed there was greater support for a bypass than an upgrade of the existing highway. This feedback also suggested there is concern about potential economic impacts of a bypass. This has been a key consideration for TMR in planning the next steps for the project. 

TMR will work with Fraser Coast Regional Council, the Tiaro community and businesses throughout the TFIU project to identify opportunities that can be harnessed from the bypass. A working group will be established to represent the community (including business operators) and to prioritise and act on identified opportunities. 

Research indicates bypasses are usually beneficial in the medium to long term. Negative impacts tend to be short-lived, with the positives far outweighing negatives. 

Please note the following links will redirect you to another website. Please contact the TFIU project team on tfiu@tmr.qld.gov.au if you have any difficulty accessing these resources, and we will email you a copy of the reports.

Get involved

Subscribe to our e-news

Subscribe to our e-news—this is the best way to get timely information on the TFIU project’s progress and consultation activities.

Email, phone or write to us

Email, phone or write to us throughout the project’s development if you have questions or concerns. 

Email: tfiu@tmr.qld.gov.au
Phone: 1800 776 237*
Write to: Reply Paid 183 
Bruce Highway – Tiaro Flood Immunity Upgrade
Department of Transport and Main Roads
PO Box 183
Gympie QLD 4570

*Local call charge in Australia. Higher rates apply for mobile phones and payphones. Check with your service provider for call costs.

Join the working group

If you are interested in representing your community on the working group, contact the TFIU project team on 1800 776 237 or tfiu@tmr.qld.gov.au for further details. 

The working group will be made up of representatives from the Tiaro community (including residents and businesses) and local government. The TFIU project team will work closely with the working group and other stakeholders to obtain feedback on the design for the bypass. TMR will engage an independent expert to help the group identify opportunities from the bypass.

Talk to your working group members

Once the working group has been established, TMR will provide details on this project website (www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Tiaro) about how to contact the group. 

Respond to surveys or other requests from TMR for information

TMR will seek feedback and input from stakeholders on the negotiable aspects of the project throughout its development. This may involve distributing surveys, gathering feedback at meetings, or asking community representatives (such as working group members) to provide information about the interests and concerns of the stakeholders they represent. 

Attend a public display or an information session

TMR uses information sessions or public displays to present detailed project information to the community. TMR will advertise any public displays or information sessions for the TFIU project on the project webpage and in local newspapers.

Email, phone or write to us during the project’s development if you have comments or questions.

Contact details

Email: tfiu@tmr.qld.gov.au
Phone: 1300 776 237*
Post: Reply Paid 183 
Bruce Highway – Tiaro Flood Immunity Upgrade
Department of Transport and Main Roads
PO Box 183
Gympie QLD 4570
*Local call charge in Australia. Higher rates apply for mobile phones and payphones. Check with your service provider for call costs.
Last updated
12 December 2019