WORK has officially started on one of the biggest infrastructure projects in South East Queensland, with the first sod turned on the $400 million Ipswich Motorway upgrade project between Granard Road, Rocklea, and the Oxley Road roundabout, Oxley.
The upgrade along the 3-kilometre length of the motorway will widen it from 4 to six lanes, and includes seven new bridges and new traffic signals at the Suscatand Street intersection. The project will also deliver a new southern service road connection from Rocklea industrial precinct to the Oxley commercial and retail areas, and a new northern service road connection over Oxley Creek floodplain.
Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher said the Australian Government's $200 million contribution to the project would create jobs while improving travel times for motorists and boosting productivity for businesses.
"Upgrading this section of the motorway from four to six lanes will improve safety and travel times for over 85,000 motorists, including 12,000 commercial vehicles, who use this stretch of the Ipswich Motorway each and every day," Mr Fletcher said.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Ipswich Motorway Upgrade was a major infrastructure project that would have wide-reaching benefits for Queenslanders.
"The Ipswich Motorway is an important part of our national freight network, linking surrounding areas to Brisbane and the intermodal freight terminal at Acacia Ridge," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"The predicted industrial, commercial and residential growth in the western corridor means we must ensure the motorway meets the increasing traffic demand."
Main Roads and Road Safety Minister and Member for Yeerongpilly Mark Bailey said the upgrade was evidence of the state and federal governments delivering another important piece of supply-chain infrastructure for Queenslanders.
The first major step in the construction phase will be the closing of the Donaldson Road exit ramp for construction of the new service road connection over the Oxley Creek floodplain on the northern side of the motorway. This closure is part of the permanent upgrade works that will reduce the number of entry and exit points on the motorway, improving safety and ease of operation.
The construction project was awarded to the Bielby Hull Albem Joint Venture, with construction expected to be completed by late 2020.