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Capricorn Highway Duplication Project Set to Go Underway

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The contract for the $74.99 million Capricorn Highway duplication project has been awarded to a joint venture between Fulton Hogan and SMEC. The project forms part of The Northern Australia Roads Program.

The new road will duplicate a five-kilometre stretch of Capricorn Highway from two to four lanes between Rockhampton and Gracemere. Moreover, intersection upgrades at Nelson Street, Fairy Bower Road, McLaughlin Street and Gavial-Gracemere Road will also be included.

“When completed, the upgraded Capricorn Highway will see increased capacity and reduced travel times, particularly during the peak traffic times in the morning and afternoon.”

Over the next six months, the Futon Hogan-SMEC joint venture will be progressing the project design, and construction is anticipated to commence in mid-2019 and be completed by mid-2020.

In a departmental press release, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said: “This project, which is part of the $600 million Northern Australia Roads program, will support the economic development of northern Australia by improving the movement of freight and people.

“When completed, the upgraded Capricorn Highway will see increased capacity and reduced travel times, particularly during the peak traffic times in the morning and afternoon.”

Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said the Capricorn Highway was Central Queensland's principal east-west freight corridor and part of Queensland's drive-tourism network, as it links the Capricorn Coast to Outback Queensland.

“This is why the Capricorn Highway upgrade is significant for Central Queensland, as it will improve a vital connection for freight and commuter traffic between Rockhampton and Gracemere,” Mr O'Dowd said. “The upgrade will improve travel times with the reinstatement of a 100 kilometre-an-hour speed limit, improve access to Rockhampton during moderate floods, and freight productivity for vehicles accessing Rockhampton.”

This is especially important since recent traffic growth has resulted in as many as 18,000 vehicles per day using the Rockhampton to Gracemere stretch of road.

The Australian Federal Government has committed $59.99 million to the Capricorn Highway duplication project with the Queensland State Government committing $15 million. An average of 187 direct jobs will be created over the life of the project.

The Northern Australia Roads Program is valued at $600 million and aims to support Northern Australia’s economic development by delivering upgrades to high priority roads used for moving freight and people.

Roads were identified following a comprehensive audit by Infrastructure Australia back in 2016. Projects underway and those in the pipeline include upgrades, safety and productivity improvements. These include road widening, overtaking lane construction, and pavement renewal.

The Federal Government will fund up to 80 per cent of the projects, with the remainder being paid by State, Territory and Local governments. Funding is available through to the 2020/21 financial year.

The Capricorn Highway duplication project is one of the 10 projects, making up the Northern Australia Roads Program, underway in Queensland. Meanwhile, another 10 projects are taking place in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Projects making up the Northern Australia Roads Program


  • Flinders Highway (Townsville – Torrens Creek): Pavement strengthening and rehabilitation (Package 1).

  • Flinders Highway – (Charters Towers to Richmond): Replacement of culverts.

  • Capricorn Highway (Rockhampton—Gracemere): Duplicate the section of the Capricorn Highway between Rockhampton and Gracemere.

  • Kennedy Developmental Road (Mount Garnet – The Lynd): Widening a section of road from a single lane seal to a two-lane seal between Mount Garnet and The Lynd.

  • Kennedy Developmental Road (The Lynd – Hughenden): Upgrading sections of the Kennedy Developmental Road known locally as the Hann Highway.

  • Barkly Highway (Cloncurry – Mount Isa): Intersection upgrades in Mount Isa urban area.

  • Bowen Developmental Road: Progressive sealing and minor drainage improvements.

  • Landsborough Highway (Longreach – Winton): Pavement widening and strengthening.

  • Peak Downs Highway (Clermont – Nebo): Logan Creek to Nine Mile Creek: Pavement widening and strengthening.

  • Rockhampton (Bajool – Port Alma Road): Pavement widening and safety upgrades to the port access road.

Northern Territory

  • Plenty Highway: Progressive sealing and flood immunity improvements.

  • Tjukaruru Road: Sealing and upgrades to an unsealed section of the road.

  • Upgrade of Keep River Plains Road: Upgrades to the Keep River Plains Road to support Project Sea Dragon and the development of Ord Stage 3.

  • Adelaide River Floodplain Upgrade Arnhem Highway: Upgrades to the Arnhem Highway, improving the flood immunity at the Adelaide River floodplain to provide all-weather access between the Stuart Highway and Mount Bundy.

  • Buntine Highway Road Upgrading: Pavement strengthening, widening and sealing on priority sections.

Western Australia

  • Great Northern Highway Upgrade – Maggie Creek to Wyndham: Widening and reconstruction works and improvements to road alignments on the Wyndham Spur.

  • Marble Bar Road (Coongan Gorge): Realignment and reconstruction works.

  • Great Northern Highway (Bow River Bridge): Replacement of the existing low-level single lane bridge with a new two-lane high-level bridge.

  • Broome-Cape Leveque Road: Road re-construction and re-alignment.


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