UNDER WATER: Flooding on Shute Harbour Road at Hamilton Plains (north to Airlie Beach) captured by a specially installed flood camera.
UNDER WATER: Flooding on Shute Harbour Road at Hamilton Plains (north to Airlie Beach) captured by a specially installed flood camera. Whitsunday Regional Council

High hopes for Bruce Highway and flood plain roads funding

A $40 MILLION injection to floodproof the lifeline of the Whitsundays communities is high on George Christensen's Federal Budget priority list.

He's also hoping for overtaking lanes and pavement widening funding to upgrade the Bruce Highway.

While he doubts there will be line items for specific road projects when tomorrow's budget is handed down, he hopes they will be funded through regional road funds.

"What I want is funding for a State Government road at Hamilton Plains," he said.

"It's the start of Shute Harbour Road that connects Cannonvale, Jubilee Pocket and all of those areas that are residential communities throughout the Whitsundays with the town of Prosperine where you've got all the key services like the hospital and schools.

"We need that flood-prone road upgraded and I understand the better part of $40 million will probably do the job.

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"It is a road of strategic importance, therefore it's of interest to the Federal Government.

"It's the road that connects the national highway to the tourism mecca of Airlie Beach.

"So there is a lot of industry significance for that road, as well as community significance.

"So I'm going to try to get some funding for that.

"I don't know if it will be a line item in the budget but we do have a roads of strategic importance fund and I'm hoping we will get a significant announcement for that region, and for that road, from that or another road program."


Future Mackay dinkus
Future Mackay dinkus Contributed

Mr Christensen said upgrades to Mackay's northern access route and the Haughton River Bridge in the Burdekin - which will benefit people from the Mackay region who travel to Townsville - were definitely funded in the budget.

He said carryover planning study funds for the flood-prone Goorganga Plains, between Proserpine and Proserpine Airport, would be in the budget because the State Government had not yet accessed previously allocated money.

But Mr Christensen said he also had high hopes for Bruce Highway works.

"I'm hoping we'll see a whole heap of extra funds to do new overtaking lanes and pavement widening on the Bruce Highway," he said.

"We need to do that for safety and there needs to be a mammoth investment in new overtaking lanes between Mackay and Proserpine, Proserpine and Bowen and Mackay and Sarina.

"My vision is that we will actually see the Bruce Highway four lanes between Mackay and Sarina.

"I don't expect that to be funded in the budget because Main Roads have not worked out the design or the plan for that yet, but that's something I'm going to keep my finger on to ensure that moves on down the track."

What we know is in the budget

  • Capacity and safety upgrades to Mackay's northern access route (from the Ron Camm Bridge to where stage one of the ring road stage is ending). The $80m project is expected next financial year, possibly before.
  • Haughton River Bridge upgrades which will benefit people who drive to Townsville.
  • $12m for the Goorganga Plains planning study will carry over from the previous budget because the State Goverment is yet to access funds, says George Christensen.