Bajool-Port Alma Road pavement widening and safety upgrades

We are delivering pavement widening and safety works on the Bajool-Port Alma Road to improve the productivity, resilience and safety of the Port Alma connection to the Bruce Highway.

The objective of this Northern Australia Road Program project is to enable efficient access to Central and Northern Queensland markets from this busy port, an essential part of the state's Key Freight Routes network.

This 26km link services Port Alma for the transfer of a range of commodities for the export and domestic market including Class 1 explosives and ammonium nitrate, bulk cargo, tallow and fuel (bulk liquids) distributed to Rockhampton and the greater Central Queensland area. The road link also provide access to Cheetham Salt and solar farms adjacent to Port Alma Road.

Port Alma also services project related activities in Central and Northern Queensland including the recent LNG industry expansion, as the import entry for steel pipes for the LNG gas pipelines throughout Queensland.  

The Northern Australia Roads Program is delivering updates to high priority roads in northern Australia essential to the movement of people and freight to support the North’s economic development.

The Northern Australia Audit – Infrastructure for a Developing North Report (2015) identified the need for port infrastructure to both sustain export levels and also the expansion of exports from Central and Northern Australia industries.

Port Alma has the facilities and potential to export up to 22 million tonnes of coal per year above current port activities. Port Alma has been identified in the Northern Australia Audit for its contribution to economic productivity and connectivity in Northern Australia for its growth as a mixed-commodity port.

This road infrastructure project will improve heavy vehicle access on this critical market access road enabling expansion of industry related projects and port activities. In 2019 the Bajool-Port Access Road had an Average Annual Daily Traffic figure of 175 vehicles per day with 41.95% identified as heavy vehicles.

To comply with environmental requirements of the site no construction can occur between end of August 2020 and April 2021, to avoid the breeding season of the Eastern Curlew and Yellow Chat bird species.

Benefits

  • Improves safety
  • Contributes to regional growth
  • Better road access
  • Increases capacity
  • Improves network efficiency
  • Reduces maintenance
  • Improves ride quality

Key features

The project will address safety concerns along the road including narrow seals, unsealed shoulders and power poles within the clear zone. 

We will be: 

  • widening the pavement width 
  • removing roadside hazards  
  • removing overhead powerline adjacent to the road over more than 12km and relocating underground in the road shoulder  
  • improving road alignment to improve the speed environment for heavy vehicles 
  • installing delineation and centre-line marking and additional signage to provide improved driver guidance. 

Funding

The project is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments under the Northern Australian Roads Program.

Total investment
$14.5 million
Australian Government
$11.6 million
Queensland Government
$2.9 million

Construction works will be undertaken between early May 2020 to late August 2020 to avoid the breeding season of the Eastern Curlew and Yellow Chat bird species. These protected birds have overlapping migratory periods through the wetlands of this area from September until March. 

In January 2020 the Federal Department of the Environment determined the Bajool-Port Alma Road project is not a controlled action and that the project does not require further assessment or approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. 

Adaptive management and monitoring of potential impacts during the construction period will ensure that residual impacts are appropriately minimised. 

Current status

Removal of Public Utility Plant (overhead power poles) commenced in May 2020 and is due for completion end of August.