Politicians pitch in to signal start to highway upgrading
THERE was plenty of mud at yesterday's ceremonial sod turning at Black Mountain but politicians resisted the urge to sling it at each other.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese and State Member for Gympie David Gibson both got their hands and shoes dirty to signal the start of $790 million section A of the Cooroy to Curra Bruce Highway upgrade.
Once completed, in 2016, Gympie motorists will enjoy safe double lane commuting from Traveston to Brisbane.
Section A will join the now completed section B to the double lanes at Cooroy.
The move is the next step in converting the killer stretch into a safe modern highway.
Mr Albanese said the rebuilding of the Bruce Hwy between Cooroy and Curra had reached another major milestone, with construction work now going on to straighten and duplicate section A.
"Just months after completing the upgrade of section B on time and under budget, we have today taken the next step towards our ultimate goal of duplicating the entire stretch of highway between Cooroy and Curra," he said.
"At a cost of more than three quarters of a billion dollars, this is a big project which will put almost 1600 Queenslanders to work, both directly and indirectly, rebuilding yet another vital section of the Bruce.
"Indeed, it is part of the record capital works program now rolling out along the entire length of the road."
The upgrade of section A is being jointly funded, with the Federal and Queensland governments both contributing $395 million to the project.
Mr Gibson said once completed in 2016, the improvements made would deliver smoother and safer driving conditions for the 20,000 motorists and truck drivers daily.
"I'm extremely pleased this upgrade has been fast-tracked," said Mr Gibson.
"As well as duplicating some 13 kilometres of highway, the project will also upgrade the existing Cooroy Southern Interchange and build a new one north of Cooroy.
"These works are vital as this stretch of road has seen 14 fatalities over a 10 year period."