Kennedy Highway—(Cairns-Mareeba), road safety enhancement works

The department has commenced safety upgrades to more than 31km of the Kennedy Highway between Kuranda and Mareeba.

This stretch of highway is a key freight, commuter and tourism corridor.

The traffic volume between Smithfield and Kuranda is about 8,700 vehicles per day (2016) reducing to about 5,800 per day between Kuranda and Emerald Creek, before increasing to about 7,700 vehicles per day between Emerald Creek and Mareeba. 

According to crash data reports, the Kennedy Highway from Cairns to Mareeba ranked highly for key risk indicators compared to other state-controlled roads with a very high number of crashes.

This program of safety upgrades will deliver significant long-term improvements to traffic flow and safety at key intersections.


  • Improves safety
  • Increases capacity
  • Improves network efficiency
  • Increases traffic flow
  • Contributes to economy
  • Contributes to regional growth

Key features

  • Upgrades at priority intersections where there is a history of crashes and near-misses, including:
    • Fallon Road/Warril Drive
    • Speewah Road
    • Palm Valley Road
    • Kanervo Road
    • Spena Road
    • Tichum Creek Quarry Road
    • Kay Road
    • Shroj Road
    • Gilmore Road.
  • Installation of wide centre line treatment at suitable locations, to reduce the risk of head-on crashes by separating oncoming traffic lanes.
  • Installation of audio tactile line marking (centreline and edge lines), to reduce the risk of fatigue-related crashes by providing noise when vehicles veer onto audible lines.
  • Installation of new guardrail and wire rope barriers, to reduce the risk of serious injuries cause by an out-of-control vehicle leaving the road.
  • A new overtaking lane near Koah to allow for safe overtaking of slower vehicles.


This work is funded by the Queensland Government as part of the $112 million High Risk Roads Targeted Road Safety Program being delivered across Queensland.
Investment ID: 1119158, 1119625, 1119767, 1120005, 1120007 and 1120010.

Total investment
$45 million
Queensland Government
$45 million

Current status

The first 5 projects (between Rainforestation Nature Park and Malone Road) of this program of safety upgrades have been completed.

The final project (between Malone Road and Mareeba - Dimbulah Road) will start in mid-2022, with completion expected in early 2023, construction and weather conditions permitting.

Kennedy Highway Kuranda to Mareeba safety upgrades project map

Kennedy Highway Kuranda to Mareeba Safety Upgrades Project map

Download and view full map of the Kennedy Highway Upgrade project.