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Federal Labor's $2.2 billion North Queensland roads upgrade.

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Federal Labor's $2.2 Billion North Queensland Roads Upgrade Media Statement - 30th October 2007

A Rudd Labor Government will invest almost $2.2 billion over five years to upgrade the 1,700 km Bruce Highway - including $450 million on major new road works in the Townsville region.

Under the record package, $2.2 billion would be invested to fix bottlenecks, reduce flooding,

boost safety and build more overtaking lanes on the Bruce Highway from Brisbane to Cairns.

As part of Federal Labor’s package, $450 million would be invested to upgrade the Bruce Highway in the Townsville region, including:

z $110m to duplicate 7km from Vantassel Street to Flinders Highway to 4-lanes

by 2014, including widening the bridge over Stuart Creek and building a rail overpass;

z $55m to duplicate the 5km Douglas Arterial from University Drive to Upper

Ross River Road to 4-lanes by 2013, in partnership with the Queensland Government;

z $90m to realign 4.15km of the northern side of the Cardwell Range by 2012,

including a rail overpass, widening the road and adding overtaking lanes to boost safety; and

z $60m to build up to 30 new overtaking lanes between Sarina and Cairns,

representing a 60 per cent increase in the number of overtaking lanes between Sarina and Cairns.

This new funding comes on top of $95 million for the Townsville Port Access Road and $40 million towards the Gairloch Floodway near Ingham and brings Labor’s road commitments in the Townsville region to $450 million.

The funding will be allocated as part of AusLink II from 2009 to 2014.

The Bruce Highway - 11 years of Howard Government neglect The Bruce Highway - the lifeline of the North - has been neglected by the Howard Government over the past 11 and a half years. North Queenslanders are driving on a road that people in Melbourne and Sydney would never put up with.

Kevin Rudd

George ColbranJim Turnour

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Federal Labor’s roads package will help grow North Queensland’s economy. Labor Candidate for Herbert, George Colbran, welcomed the funding saying the projects would be a major boost for Townsville commuters.

Labor’s plan for the Bruce will slash travel times and clear major bottlenecks. Mr Howard has ignored the Bruce Highway for more than a decade and it has been local families and businesses that have suffered.

The Townsville projects announced today are a huge win and will provide relief for thousands of frustrated motorists. Traffic on the Douglas Arterial is expected to double to almost 35 000 cars a day within the next six years, with an immediate jump of 8 000 extra cars when the Ring Road opens at the end of next year.

Labor’s duplication will meet this growth.

The duplication from Upper Ross River Road to University Road and from the Flinders Highway to Vantassel Street would give Townsville motorists a much needed four-lane freeway from the Ross River to Stuart.

And upgrading Vantassel Street, which currently carries up to 12 000 vehicles a day, to four lanes will provide for industrial growth in the Townsville State Development Area and residential development in Rocky Springs over the next 30 years.

Labor Candidate for Leichhardt, Jim Turnour, particularly welcomed the extra money for overtaking lanes and the Cardwell Range.

The 30 new overtaking lanes will allow tourists to enjoy the view and trucks to reach their destination without long lines of cars banking up behind them.

And the Cardwell Range will be a significant boost for safety between Cairns and Townsville by eliminating a train level crossing and tight corners on the current, narrow road.

Additional components of Labor’s $2.2 billion upgrade of the Bruce, including more road widening, rest areas and safety upgrades will be announced during the campaign.

A Rudd Labor Government would boost Bruce Highway funding by reallocating some of the $1.2 billion saved by implementing Labor’s plan to upgrade the Ipswich Motorway rather than the Coalition’s controversial plan to spend $2.3 billion on the 8km Goodna Bypass in Ipswich - a road which Brisbane’s Liberal Lord Mayor, the RACQ and the Queensland Liberal leader all oppose.

The funding for the Bruce Highway brings to $4.7 billion the value of commitments made for Queensland roads by Federal Labor.

Authorised by Tim Gartrell, 161 London Circuit, Canberra City, ACT 2600

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