Cunningham Highway (Ipswich – Warwick), 2020 Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements reconstruction works
The department is committed to restoring and repairing the damaged section of the Cunningham Highway at Cunninghams Gap. This 2km stretch, leading up to the Allan Cunningham monument, suffered significant road damage during the bushfires in 2019.
Situated within the Main Range National Park, that is part of the esteemed Gondwana Rainforests World Heritage Area, the project demands meticulous management to safeguard the surrounding environment. The department's team has faced unique challenges posed by the complex topography, requiring extensive design work, including geotechnical and structural assessments, before initiating the reconstruction process.
- Restores damaged infrastructure
- Contributes to economy
- Contributes to regional growth
- Scaling and stabilising the slope above the road to reduce the risk of rockfalls
- Rockfall protection systems
- About 20,000m2 of rockfall protection mesh to be installed on the upslope.
- Over 1km of fencing at the bottom of the slope to catch falling rocks
- Retaining walls on the downslope to enable sufficient carriageway width to install upslope catch fencing
- Major reconstruction works at the Gap cutting
- Replacing and constructing additional concrete barriers
- Guardrail with rubrail to protect motorcycle riders from impact with posts
- Wide centre line treatment to increase separation of opposing traffic
- Constructing an emergency stopping bay 1km before the Allan Cunningham monument
- Pavement works to restore the surface of the highway
- Technology to monitor geotechnical systems that will provide real time data of potential large scale rock displacement
- Works around the Main Range National Park carpark to maintain safety of highway traffic, visitors to the Gap crest and pedestrians.
Project features design
Assistance will be provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA). Investment ID 1452806
- Total investment
- $134.4 million
- Australian Government
- $100.8 million
- Queensland Government
- $33.6 million
Extensive engagement was undertaken with the freight, agriculture, tourism and construction industries, local businesses and neighbouring communities to gain a deeper understanding into travel movements.
The information provided was very valuable and has resulted in a review of some elements of the project to minimise impacts to road users.
Commencing on 9 October 2023, road users can expect temporary stop/slow traffic conditions with intermittent delays of up to 30 minutes when travelling through Cunninghams Gap, 6am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) until 8 December 2023.
From early 2024, these impacts will extend to some periods of 24-hour operation with single lane reversible flow operations in place for up to 3 months.
For the latest traffic and travel information, please check QLDTraffic.
While there are no planned closures of the Cunningham Highway, due to the complexity of recovery works and to ensure the safety of construction workers and the travelling public, there may be a requirement for occasional emergency short-term temporary closures of the Cunningham Highway. Where possible, we will provide advance notice to the community to minimise any inconvenience.
The project team held information sessions to gather data on travel movements at Aratula and Warwick in March 2023, Aratula and Boonah in April 2023, and Stanthorpe in May 2023. Further sessions were held at Maryvale, Stanthorpe, Warwick, Aratula and Kalbar in September 2023 to share information with the community about the scope of works and expected traffic impacts throughout the duration of the project.
Location of Cunninghams Gap – Cunninghams Gap is situated in Main Range National Park, between the peaks of Mount Cordeaux and Mount Mitchell. It is located near Tregony in the Southern Downs region immediately beside the boundary to Tarome in the Scenic Rim Regional Council area. The area is a popular location for tourists and locals, with many scenic walking trails located within the National Park.
Purpose of the project – The project aims to repair a section of the Cunningham Highway at Cunninghams Gap, that was extensively damaged by severe bushfires in 2019. The highway serves a significant role in transporting people and freight to and from Brisbane and the Port of Brisbane from the west. The bushfires caused slope damage resulting in rock and debris falling onto the highway and increased the likelihood of rock falls, posing a danger to road users.
Project completion date – Due to the severity of damage and complexity of repairs required, the project is expected to continue until mid-2025.
Environmental considerations – The project acknowledges that Cunninghams Gap is situated within the Main Range National Park, that is part of the Gondwana Rainforests World Heritage Area. Meticulous management is being implemented to safeguard the surrounding environment.
Support for local jobs and businesses – The project will provide opportunities for regional jobs and will support local businesses during the construction phase.
Detailed design community engagement – During the detailed design phase in 2021, the department undertook community engagement. For more information about is, please download our design phase community engagement summary.
Information for heavy vehicle operators – Heavy vehicle operators can find road access and restriction information on the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator website or the Heavy Vehicle Industry Road Report, that can be viewed on the QLDTraffic website.
Contact information for the project team and traffic alerts – For more information about the project or to sign up for traffic alerts, contact the project team through the following channels:
Call: 1800 497 100* during business hours (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
*Free call from anywhere in Australia, call charges apply for mobile phones and payphones. Check with your service provider for call costs.