TWO preferred tenderers have been shortlisted to deliver the $515 million project to upgrade the notoriously flood-prone Haughton River Floodplain section of the Bruce Highway, about 50 kilometres south of Townsville, the Australian and Queensland governments announced last week.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the Australian Government's $412 million commitment to the project would be funded under the 10-year, $8.5 billion Bruce Highway Upgrade Programme being delivered in partnership with the Queensland Government.
"This major project will address one of the worst flood-prone areas on the Bruce Highway, and in recognition of the urgent need to fix the problem, we are bringing the start of works forward nine months ahead of schedule to mid 2018," Mr Chester said.
Queensland Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety Mark Bailey said the shortlisted contractors were Seymour Whyte-John Holland joint venture with AECOM and The Infrastructure Group joint venture between Bielby, BMD Constructions, JF Hull and Albem Pty Ltd with ARUP Group and HDR Inc.
"The shortlisted companies were selected after a thorough evaluation process, with particular focus placed on their plans for engaging local businesses and employees," Mr Bailey said.
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said the upgrade would substantially improve safety and the year-round dependability of the highway.
"The works will replace the narrow Haughton River Bridge with a higher, wider bridge and upgrade around 14 kilometres of the highway where it crosses the floodplain between Ayr and Townsville. The new bridge will allow the Bruce Highway to remain open in all but the most severe floods, ensuring communities are not left stranded during extreme weather events," Mr Christensen said.
"Preliminary work to facilitate construction of a higher, wider and safer bridge over the Haughton River—a key part of this project—has already been undertaken with exploratory drilling works recently completed for the installation of the new bridge's foundations.
The contract for the project is due to be awarded in early 2018, with construction to commence around mid-2018 and be completed by mid-2021. The Australian Government will provide up to $412 million, and the Queensland Government $103 million, to the $515 million project.