Cairns Ring Road (Cairns CBD to Smithfield)

The planning for a $359 million program of road upgrades is progressing on the Captain Cook Highway between Cairns and Smithfield.

The planning study will examine the wider Cairns City Road network, to inform the options analysis, and the prioritisation and staging framework for construction along the route.


  • Improves safety
  • Increases capacity
  • Improves network efficiency
  • Increases traffic flow
  • Reduces peak hour congestion
  • Reduces travel time
  • Contributes to economy
  • Contributes to regional growth
  • Better active transport

Key features

The type of future work to be undertaken, subject to the findings of the planning study, will typically include:

  • Total network solutions, completed in stages.
  • Road widening.
  • Intersection safety upgrades.
  • Intelligent Transport Systems.
  • Active transport improvements.
  • Public transport improvements.


The project is funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments and was announced as part of the 2019-20 federal budget.

The total commitment for the project is $359 million with the Australian Government contributing $287.2 million and the Queensland Government $71.8 million (80:20). Investment ID 1351442

Total investment
$359 million
Australian Government
$287.2 million
Queensland Government
$71.8 million

Airport Avenue to James Street early works

As part of the Cairns Ring Road (CBD to Smithfield) project, we are undertaking an early works package on the section of Captain Cook Highway between Airport Avenue and James Street.

The works include the installation of an additional inbound lane on Captain Cook Highway between Moffat Street and Lily Street, closure of some existing median breaks on Sheridan Street and intersection safety upgrades.

The early works will improve traffic flow, trip times, safety, and reduce the number and severity of crashes on this section of Sheridan Street.

Construction of the early works is expected to start in September 2021, weather permitting.

Consultation activities for the Cairns Ring Road (CBD to Smithfield) project started in August 2020 and will be ongoing throughout the project.

Cairns Ring Road alignment map

Cairns Ring Road CBD to Smithfield

Airport Avenue to James Street early works

Map of early works, Airport Avenue to James Street