Bruce Highway (Gympie – Maryborough), Tiaro Bypass, construct four lane bypass frequently asked questions

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Interchange design and locations
Bauple Drive service road


What were the key objectives for the project?

The primary project objectives were to improve flood immunity, capacity and safety on the Bruce Highway, but other supporting objectives include:

  • ensuring the design is compatible with future highway upgrade requirement
  • minimising the impact on the environment
  • achieving value for money
  • minimising economic impact to Tiaro and helping the Tiaro community leverage opportunities from the bypass.

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When will the new highway open?

Construction timeframes will be confirmed during detailed design which is scheduled to be completed in 2024.

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What happens during the detailed design phase of the project?

The detailed design phase will include:

  • further detailed investigations and assessments including environmental, hydraulics, noise, geotechnical, pavement, traffic and safety
  • development of detailed design drawings (including drainage, lighting, signage, property accesses, public utility relocations, landscaping plans, fencing requirements)
  • preparation of detailed cost estimates, construction drawings, and contract and procurement documents for the construction phase.

At the conclusion of the detailed design phase, the department will be able to share information with the community about the project specifications. 

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Where exactly will the 4 lanes start?

The tie-in with the existing Bruce Highway at the southern end of the project will start just north of the current Bauple Drive (northern) intersection and will connect with the existing highway north of the Wilsons Road intersection, at Tahlia Lane. This will include a transition from 2 lanes to 4 lanes and back again.

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When will the Bruce Highway between Curra and Tiaro be upgraded to 4 lanes?

There is currently no funding commitment to duplicate this section of highway. Funding for this work will need to be considered together with other competing priorities and negotiation with the Australian Government.

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Will there be a vegetation buffer to protect amenity for current and future residents?

Several stakeholders requested plant vegetation buffers within the highway corridor. The department will investigate this further during the detailed design phase of the project.

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How will the bypass affect the amount of traffic travelling through the Tiaro Bypass?

It is estimated 10,000 vehicles travel on the Bruce Highway through Tiaro each day. It is predicted that this will reduce by around 80% when the bypass is open. 

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Interchange design and locations

Why does the bypass have only half-diamond interchanges?

Due to insufficient traffic volumes and the overall length of the bypass, only 2 options for the connections to Tiaro were considered. These options included:

  • a full interchange at one end of the bypass
  • 2 half-diamond interchanges (1 at each end).

Together, the 2 half-diamond interchanges allow motorists to travel north and south (just like a full interchange), but they have additional benefits as follows:

  • They will help encourage motorists to stop at Tiaro. The two connections ensure Tiaro is 'on the way' for northbound or southbound motorists. This avoids the need for motorists to 'double back', as would have been required in the case of the 1 interchange option.
    The 2 half-diamond interchanges have been designed to be developed into 2 full interchanges in future when an increase in traffic demand justifies the need for further upgrade.
Why aren't there additional on and off ramps at Tahiti Road?

Adding north facing ramps to the Tahiti Road interchange would make it a full diamond. These ramps have been conceptually designed to be included at some future date but are not economically justified at this time. 

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Did the project team consider an interchange at Bauple Drive?

Yes. An interchange at Bauple Drive (northern access) was considered, but had to be excluded for several reasons:

  1. It would require an extension of the project further south to build suitable approaches to the interchange. This would be a significant additional cost and would involve additional impacts such as property owner impacts and environmental impacts.
  2. It would still require either an underpass on Tahiti Road so Tahiti Road traffic could safely travel under the highway, or a service road between Tahiti Road and the Bauple Drive interchange to provide a safe connection to the highway for Tahiti Road traffic.

The underpass or service road cost would be in addition to the cost of the interchange at Bauple Drive. The service road would also require Tahiti Road traffic to travel south first, if they wanted to travel north. The current draft design does not require any local traffic to double back or travel against their desired direction of travel during normal conditions. 

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Bauple Drive service road

Why was Bauple Drive (north connection) included in the project scope?

The Bauple Drive (north connection) realignment was included to address safety issues for traffic travelling north from Bauple, who turn right onto the Bruce Highway.

Relocation of Bauple Drive (north connection) to connect to Tahiti Road means Bauple Drive motorists would have a safer journey and avoids delays at the current intersection during peak traffic periods. Realignment to the Tahiti Road interchange would eliminate the need to turn right across the busy high-speed highway with approximately 10,000 vehicles per day.

Under the proposed service road access, Bauple Drive traffic would continue to travel through Tiaro as they currently do, but with much less congestion.

While it is much safer than the current arrangement, the new service road would add around one kilometre travel distance for Bauple residents.

The Bauple Drive service road was an addition to the original scope of the project and should cost overruns require an adjustment in project scope, it may need to be removed from the scope in future leaving the current arrangement in place. 

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Why is the proposed Bauple Drive service road in a low-lying area?

The location of the service road was constrained by the likely location of future 4-laning of the Bruce Highway south of Tiaro and the need to minimise impacts on landowners. A service road west of the current alignment would not likely be compatible with future 4-laning of the highway.

The drainage options for the road will be developed and assessed during the detailed design phase of the project. It is possible the service road alignment might move during this process, however the department's preference is to avoid further impacts to private property where possible.

The proposed service road would be built to withstand at least a 1 in 20-year flood event.

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Would the proposed Bauple Drive service road add another 20 minutes to travel time for Bauple residents?

No. The additional travel time is likely to be approximately 3 to 4 minutes on a typical journey, with travel time savings expected during peak periods.

The difference in travel distance between using the existing Bauple Drive and using the realigned Bauple Drive is about 1 kilometre.

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Would Bauple residents use local side roads to access the old Bruce Highway instead of the proposed service road?

The department has investigated the influence of the proposed Tiaro Bypass on the surrounding road network and on driver behaviour as part of the project planning.

Traffic modelling shows that motorists intending to turn right onto the Bruce Highway at T-intersections are expected to experience delays during peak holiday times due to high through traffic on the highway. The proposed Bauple Drive connection to the Tahiti Road interchange would provide a more efficient and safer alternative with minimal difference in travel time. The department therefore expects that most Bauple motorists would regularly use the safer option via the new proposed Tahiti Road interchange.

If this does not occur, and use of other roads poses a safety risk for the Bauple community and Bruce Highway road users, the department will investigate changes to these roads to reduce any safety risk which may include the closure of local roads such as Willets Road, Chapmans Road and Iron Ridge Road where they connect with the Bruce Highway.

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Can the project pay for some of the future maintenance costs for the Bauple Drive service road?

The department will work with Fraser Coast Regional Council on future operation and maintenance arrangements for the service road.

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Will the bypass improve the flooding situation for Tiaro?

Yes. While flooding issues will not be eliminated altogether, there will be additional travel options and reduced waiting times during major flooding at Tiaro as a result of the bypass. You can contact the project team to find out more about future travel options during flood events in Tiaro.

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Will residents or emergency services have to u-turn on the Bruce Highway in floods to use the bypass for travel?

No. There will be no need to U-turn on the Bruce Highway.

If residents or emergency services want to use the bypass to get into and out of Tiaro during floods, they will do a normal turn into a nearby side road on the Bruce Highway. Once on the side road, they can turn around and travel back along the highway and the bypass. The project team will investigate the best side roads to use for this turning facility as part of the detailed design phase of the project.

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What is the department's consultation process with the broader community?

The department has consulted with the community about the Tiaro Bypass at regular intervals since 2019. Project updates were sent to all residents of Tiaro, Bauple, Owanyilla and Talegalla Weir in February 2019, December 2019, August 2020 and December 2021. These communities received the draft public design for feedback in December 2021 and were invited to participate in community information sessions for the project in July 2022.

The project team also maintains a dedicated free call number, email address and project webpage and has attended meetings in Tiaro and Bauple where requested, to discuss the draft design, provide updates on project progress or answer questions.

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How was the Tiaro Community Working Group formed and what is its role in the project?

The Tiaro Community Working Group was formed in March 2020 in response to concerns from the community about economic impacts of the Tiaro bypass on the Tiaro township.

These concerns were first raised when the department distributed a project update and feedback form to the Bauple, Tiaro, Owanyilla and Talegalla Weir communities in February 2019. This update invited feedback on two options under investigation, including an upgrade of the existing Bruce Highway, or a bypass of Tiaro to the east. Feedback suggested a bypass was supported, but economic impacts on Tiaro were a significant concern. The department was responsive to this feedback and it heavily influenced the consultation process and project moving forward.

In November 2019, the department distributed another project update to the Bauple, Tiaro, Owanyilla and Talegalla Weir communities explaining the bypass decision, the feedback received from earlier consultation and the proposed consultation process moving forward. The flyer encouraged residents to nominate to join the Tiaro Community Working Group.

All nominations for the working group were accepted. No one was excluded.

The Tiaro Community Working Group’s role has included working with the department to provide input into the design to help Tiaro to minimise economic impacts of, and leverage opportunities from, the Tiaro Bypass. The Tiaro Community Working Group has also worked with Fraser Coast Regional Council on a Community Plan for Tiaro, to help realise its social and economic potential.

The Tiaro Community Working Group's involvement is in addition to, not in place of, the department's consultation process with the broader community.

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How is feedback from the community considered?

All feedback is considered during both planning and design phases of a project and is balanced against other considerations (such as project objectives, budget, outcomes of technical investigations, road safety considerations and requirements of the broader community).

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