Bruce Highway, Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade, construct bridges and approaches
The Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade project included safety and flood resilience upgrades to 13.5km of the Bruce Highway at Giru (midway between Ayr and Townsville). The project scope included constructing 5 bridges and 2 cane rail overpasses, upgrading intersections and installing wide centreline treatments.
This significant investment on the Bruce Highway between Ayr and Townsville has delivered significant benefits including improved safety and flood resilience.
This section of the Bruce Highway previously closed due to flooding, on average, every 1 to 2 years. These closures significantly affect locals, tourists, transport operators and other motorists.
Now that the Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade project is complete, the severity and frequency of closures will be greatly reduced.
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
- The Horseshoe Lagoon, Pink Lily and Haughton River bridges have been replaced with new, wider, higher-level bridges.
- New crossings have been built over Healey’s Lagoon and the Reed Beds.
- 13.5km of the Bruce Highway has been upgraded (on approach to, and between the bridges), in some areas on a new alignment.
- Two highway overpasses of the nearby cane tramway network have been constructed, removing the existing open-level crossings.
- Rural intersections within the project area have been upgraded to improve safety.
- Wide centre line treatments have been 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 was jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments on an 80:20 (federal:state) basis. Investment ID 8785 in Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program (QTRIP) 2021-22 to 2024-25.
- Total investment
- $409.31 million
- Australian Government
- $327.45 million
- Queensland Government
- $81.86 million
The project was completed in June 2022.
The first 2 traffic switches onto the new Bruce Highway occurred in late August 2021; and the final traffic switch, which saw motorists using the entire 13.5km of new Bruce Highway, occurred in October 2021.
Innovations throughout design and construction of the Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade project led to the agreed scope being delivered for $105 million less than originally anticipated. These significant savings were re-invested to other priority Bruce Highway projects in North Queensland.
Now that 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.
Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia Rating
The Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade project design phase was assessed against the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia criteria and achieved a result of ‘Excellent’.
An assessment against the Infrastructure Sustainable Council of Australia criteria for construction (or ‘As Built’) phase is planned, now that the project is complete.
- 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.
- August & October 2021: major traffic switches onto the new Bruce Highway (weather and construction conditions permitting)
- June 2022: project construction completed.
A new bridge has been constructed at the Reed Beds, replacing what was previously a section of flood-prone and heavily culverted pavement. The old, low-lying pavement shown in this image will be excavated, and a Sarri Road extended to meet the new Bruce Highway alignment.