THE Australian Government this week announced that work has now begun on a $110 million project to duplicate the Warrego Highway between Leeson Road at Charlton and Nugent Pinch Road at Cotswold Hills, to the west Toowoomba.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the 5.7 kilometre section of the highway carries more than 15,000 vehicles each day, which is set to increase to 30,000 over the next 20 years.
"These upgrades will improve safety on this section of the highway by providing separation between opposing traffic streams, intersection upgrades and new turning lanes to provide safe turning opportunities," Mr Truss said.
The stage one upgrade is being undertaken by Seymour Whyte Constructions Pty Ltd and is due to be completed in mid to late 2016. It is the first component of a planned $635 million upgrade of Warrego Highway between Toowoomba and Oakley.
Federal Member for Groom Ian Macfarlane said the stage one works will also include the construction of a grade-separated intersection at Troys Road, installation of traffic signals and the realignment of the Charlton Pinch Road and Gowrie Junction Road intersections.
"The Warrego Highway is a vital connection between southern Queensland's agricultural and resource regions and the Port of Brisbane, and every dollar spent on this project will return to the economy more than five times the cost of our investment," Mr Macfarlane said.
"This upgrade will ease congestion for commuters and freight operators alike, making the journey in and out of Toowoomba much easier and safer.
"During the works there will be minimal impact on traffic flow, with construction of the new traffic lanes mainly occurring alongside the existing highway."
The Australian Government has committed $508 million towards the Warrego Highway upgrade package of works. Stage One funding comprises up to $88 million from the Australian Government and $22 million from the Queensland Government.