Ingham to Cardwell Range Planning Study Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Ingham to Cardwell Range Highway Planning Study?
In 2008 the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) commenced the Ingham to Cardwell Range Highway Planning Study to investigate if there was a more reliable, safe and flood resilient highway alignment from the south of Ingham to the Cardwell Range. The study involved extensive community consultation, engineering and traffic investigations, flood modelling and environmental analysis and was completed in 2011.
Why did the Department of Transport and Main Roads undertake this study?
The key driver of the Ingham to Cardwell Range Highway Planning Study is the need to reduce flood closures on the Bruce Highway, from five days during a significant rain event to no more than 48 hours, and reduce the average annual closure time to no more than 10 hours. TMR is committed to providing a more reliable National Highway link between Townsville and Cairns, reducing impacts on isolated communities, essential services, and industry impacted by annual flood closures of the Bruce Highway. When assessing all alignment options against a set of criteria developed by the planning study team, the W2A alignment had the lowest impact on flooding of all the alignments, with large sections of the alignment achieving greater than the 10/48 flood standard.
Safety is another primary driver for the project, with more than 6,600 vehicle movements per day (2017 figures) on the Bruce Highway through the centre of Ingham – 24 percent of which are heavy vehicles. Providing a new highway alignment around Ingham removes the heavy vehicle traffic from the Ingham CBD, improving safety for the local community and providing a more efficient route for through traffic.
What was the outcome of the study?
As a result of the study, it was announced that the Western 2A (W2A) Deviation option was the preferred highway alignment. The W2A alignment was gazetted as a future state-controlled road in May 2015. A future state-controlled road means a road or land that the chief executive has notified the local government in writing is intended to become a state-controlled road.
Was an eastern alignment considered during the planning study?
Options east of Ingham were considered during the identification of the zones of interest as part of the planning study; however, these are not viable for a number of reasons, which include:
- Any eastern option would need to start further south of Ingham to avoid existing infrastructure, adding to the overall length of the route. This means that the eastern zone of interest would cost at least twice as much as the central and western zones, requiring substantially more drainage infrastructure and land acquisitions.
- An eastern option would also need to overpass the Queensland Rail line twice, adding to the overall cost of fill, as well as increasing the amount of drainage required to prevent the road embankment from flooding nearby properties.
- During previous consultation, Ingham businesses expressed the need to keep the highway as close to town as possible. The central and western zones of interest are less expensive options that are closer to the Ingham township. They also encourage travellers to the beach communities to travel through Ingham. Any eastern option would potentially dissuade travellers from passing through Ingham by providing direct access to beach communities.
Won't less traffic through the Ingham CBD impact local business?
TMR appreciates the community's concerns about the impact less traffic could have on CBD traders in Ingham. These concerns will be considered further during detailed planning and TMR will work with the Hinchinbrook Shire Council and local businesses on strategies to address these issues. During the planning study, TMR committed to this future consultation and recognised the importance of promoting Ingham and the surrounding area as an attractive destination for motorists approaching from both the north and the south. While the preferred road corridor alignment for the Ingham to Cardwell Range Deviation has been determined and approved, future detailed planning will include economic and social impact assessments (in addition to many other technical investigations) to identify and analyse potential impacts on local and regional businesses, agricultural production, tourism and the local community. These will be separate participatory processes that will involve the local community and will feed into the design phase of the project.
Will my property be affected if/when the W2A alignment is constructed?
TMR has not undertaken any further consultation or planning on this project since completion of the planning study in 2011. Under the Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program 2019-20 to 2022-23, both the Australian and Queensland Governments have reaffirmed a commitment to the Ingham to Cardwell Range Deviation project with $48 million in indicative funding to update the previous planning study and potentially secure the identified corridor. The planning project is set to begin from mid-2020.
TMR will undertake extensive consultation with all stakeholders, including local council, the local chamber of commerce, industry and tourism, local businesses and the wider community, during the future phases of this project.
When will the new alignment be constructed?
There is currently no committed funding for design or construction of the W2A alignment once planning and preservation of the road corridor is completed.