$75 MILLION TO SUPPORT DEVELOPMENT OF WALKERSTON BYPASS

DARREN CHESTER MP
MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORT

MICHELLE LANDRY
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR CAPRICORNIA

GEORGE CHRISTENSEN
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR DAWSON

A $75 million investment by a re-elected Coalition Government will support the development of the Walkerston Bypass, following construction of the $565 million Mackay Ring Road (Stage One) project.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester made the announcement today in Walkerston alongside LNP Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry and LNP Member for Dawson George Christensen.

Mr Chester said the bypass, also known as the Bowen Basin Service Link, was an important and strategic project which would improve the connection of the Peak Downs Highway to the Bruce Highway and relieve Walkerston of heavy vehicle congestion, improving safety for all road users.

“Like the Mackay Ring Road, the Walkerston Bypass has a lot of community support and will improve the flow of heavy vehicles along the Peak Downs and Bruce Highways,” Mr Chester said.

“Both Michelle and George have lobbied for funding to support this project because of the benefit to not only the Walkerston community but also residents and freight operators travelling between Mackay, Eton and Nebo.

“I recently wrote to the Queensland Government seeking their support to fast-track the Mackay Ring Road (Stage One) project and if the Coalition is returned to Government, I will be seeking a matching contribution for this upgrade which could feasibly follow construction of the ring road.”

LNP Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry has been campaigning to change heavy vehicle access onto the Peak Downs Highway near Walkerston for several years.

She said the $75 million investment was a fantastic result for families of school children around Walkerston.

“This project will kickstart an alternative route for heavy vehicles with dangerous loads that frequent this area,” Ms Landry said.

“Too often I have heard of near misses and having seen the bottleneck first hand on many occasions, I fully appreciate the concerns locals hold about trucks driving on a narrow street past local schools and shops, to turn sharply onto Kirkup Bridge over Bakers Creek, to get on and off the Peak Downs Highway.

“The people of Walkerston have been living in fear because they feel it is only a matter of time before a major accident.

“I sincerely thank the efforts of Graeme Ransley and the Road Accident Action Group (RAAG) for their consistent lobbying and research to help us deliver the initial funding for this project which is about keeping people safe and preventing serious accidents on our local roads.”

Mr Christensen said the construction of the Walkerston Bypass would also provide ongoing work in the region following the completion of other Bruce Highway projects.

“Today’s announcement is a fantastic outcome for our region because it will provide the thing we need most and that’s jobs,” Mr Christensen said.

“There will be jobs during construction, but the project will also boost freight productivity, which provides flow-on efficiency benefits and secures jobs in the local resource industry for the future.

“The Walkerston Bypass is a project that I have taken great personal interest in because I have lived and worked in the Walkerston community for many years, and served the area as a local government councillor.”

Mr Chester said the Queensland Government had included the Walkerston Bypass in its State Infrastructure Plan released in March this year.

He said the $75 million commitment to the Walkerston Bypass builds on the Coalition’s $6.7 billion investment in the Bruce Highway and $166 million Peak Downs Highway Safety Works project.

ENDS

13/06/2016