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Construction full steam ahead on Eastern Access Corridor.

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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon Anthony Albanese MP Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government

23 July 2009 AA344/2009 Joint

Media release issued by James Bidgood Federal Member for Dawson and Craig Wallace Queensland Minister for Main Roads

Construction Full Steam Ahead on Eastern Access Corridor

Construction of the Townsville Port Access Road is forging ahead with full construction works commencing on the second stage of the project.

Queensland Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace and Federal Member for Dawson James Bidgood visited the project site today to witness first-hand the progress being made on the new road corridor.

"The Eastern Access Corridor (EAC) is the second stage of the $190 million Federal and State government-funded Townsville Port Access Road project, connecting the Bruce Highway with the Port of Townsville," Mr Wallace said.

"As the second and final stage of the project, the EAC will link with the Stuart Bypass to provide a dedicated route to the port for industrial traffic, reducing the number of heavy vehicles travelling through the heart of the city.

"The project is in full swing and the progress that has been made to date is very impressive."

The Federal Member for Dawson, James Bidgood, commended the project team for the steady progress of works, which also includes the declaration and management of an environmental reserve at the mouth of the Ross River.

"Earthworks for this stage are well underway, with about 5,000 tonnes of dirt being excavated every day to help establish the new corridor," Mr Bidgood said.

"A layer of rock is being laid along the base of the 7.5-kilometre corridor, and this will form the foundation for the new road.

"The corridor will also include five new bridges, including a six-span, 200-metre-long structure over the Ross River.

"Fencing of the road boundary around the 585-hectare environmental reserve has also been installed in preparation for the environmental rejuvenation works, which will be carried out as part of this project."

Mr Wallace said improving access to the port would ensure major industries such as sugar, livestock and mining could access the port safely and efficiently.

"The Port of Townsville handles 10 million tonnes of freight every year, a figure that is expected to triple over the next 20 years, and supports up to 7,000 direct and indirect jobs," he said

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"Around 960 direct and indirect jobs will be sustained over the life of the project."

Mr Bidgood said once the project was complete, road trains would no longer need to break down into single trailers on the outskirts of Townsville in order to access the port through suburban streets.

"This will reduce travel and loading times, which is good news for industry groups and the local economy," he said.

"It also means fewer heavy vehicles travelling through residential suburbs, which means improved suburban road safety and a reduction in noise and air pollution for residents."

The Townsville Port Access Road is expected to be complete by early 2012, weather permitting.

Media Contacts

( Wallace's Office ) 0419 734 985

( Bidgood's Office ) 07 4944 0662

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