Bruce Highway, Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade, construct bridges and approaches

The Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade project includes safety and flood resilience upgrades to the Bruce Highway at Giru (midway between Ayr and Townsville). As part of the project we will construct 5 bridges and 2 cane rail overpasses, upgrade intersections and install wide centreline treatments.

A half-billion-dollar program of upgrades on the Bruce Highway between Ayr and Townsville is being delivered to improve safety and flood resilience. 

This section of the Bruce Highway closes due to flooding, on average, every 1 to 2 years. These closures significantly affect locals, tourists, transport operators and other motorists.

Once the Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade project is complete, the severity and frequency of closures will be greatly reduced from an average of 55 hours to between 15 and 22 hours in a 1-in-50 year weather event.

The floodplain is impacted by a variety of factors and is considered among the most complex in Queensland.


  • Improves safety
  • Increases capacity
  • Improves network efficiency
  • Improves flood immunity
  • Better road access
  • Contributes to economy
  • Contributes to regional growth

Key features

  • The Horseshoe Lagoon, Pink Lily and Haughton River bridges will be replaced with new, wider, higher-level bridges.
  • New crossings will be built over Healey’s Lagoon and the Reed Beds. 
  • 13.5km of the Bruce Highway will be upgraded (on approach to, and between the bridges), in some areas on a new alignment.
  • Two highway overpasses of the nearby cane tramway network will be constructed, removing the existing open-level crossings.
  • Rural intersections within the project area will be upgraded to improve safety.
  • Wide centre line treatments will be installed (similar to other Bruce Highway projects) to increase the distance between oncoming lanes of traffic and reduce the risk of head-on collisions.


The project is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments on an 80:20 (federal:state) basis. Investment ID 8785

Total investment
$514.3 million
Australian Government
$411.47 million 
Queensland Government
$102.87 million

Current Status

We are currently undertaking the upgrades. 

The structure of all 5 bridges to be constructed as part of the project are taking shape; as are the 2 cane rail overpasses. 

Structural works started on the new 146m long Haughton River bridge in late February 2020. The temporary access structure, from which the wider and higher Haughton River bridge is being built, will be removed by late 2020. 

Project timeline

  • March 2018: design and construct contract awarded to The Infrastructure Group; design started.
  • August 2018: start of preliminary works onsite as part of the project.
  • April 2019: start of major construction works.
  • Mid-2021: project construction complete (weather and construction program permitting).

Project plan

Project plan with insets for Hodel Road intersection, Shirbourne Road intersection and Woodstock/Giru Road intersection

Project plan illustration

project plan illustration