PM Gillard to pledge $50m to fix Yeppen flood problems
UPDATE 10.30AM: PRIME Minister Julia Gillard was in Rockhampton this morning to announce a ten-year $4.1 billion capital works program.
The program includes the upgrade to the Yeppen South Floodplain, which will see the construction of two new raised northbound lanes, along a new 1.6 kilometre bridge.
And widening the section between Yeppoon Road to Boundary Road, from two to four lanes.
The commitment to the Bruce Highway is set to improve safety, cut travel times and improve the road's flood immunity.
See more in tomorrow's Bully.
5AM: JULIA Gillard is expected today to commit $50 million to begin work on the critical $300m Yeppen South Bruce Hwy project on Rockhampton's southern entrance.
The Prime Minister arrived in Rockhampton late yesterday to attend a function last night to farewell retiring Member for Capricornia, Kirsten Livermore.
The Yeppen funding will be a headline act in Labor's $4.1 billion, 10-year plan for the Bruce Hwy to be unveiled this morning by the Prime Minister in Rockhampton - including details on new highway works just north of Rockhampton.
Just two weeks ago in Rockhampton, Treasurer Wayne Swan held the Yeppen South $50 million cards close to his chest when he refused to commit to starting the project, saying final planning was being worked through.
"I don't think that is going to be that far off and then we can give a response," he told the Bulletin.
"We are going through the process of sorting through our future expenditure on our national road network. Our attitude to you (Rockhampton) is favourable. I've indicated that."
The full Yeppen South project is expected to cost about $300m and raise the highway above the record 1918 flood level of 10.2m - the 2011 flood that cut Rockhampton off or two weeks was 9.2m.
Ms Livermore yesterday said work would begin this year and involve building two new, raised northbound lanes between the Burnett Hwy and the Yeppen Roundabout as well as erecting a 1.6 km long bridge.
The Yeppen North project, under construction, includes the raising of the bridge over the Yeppen Lagoon.
"While no road can be made 100% flood proof, the work we're undertaking will make a big difference and minimise the likelihood of the Bruce Hwy being cut during future wet seasons," Ms Livermore said.