'Generational commitment' needed to flood-proof Bruce Hwy

Queensland roads minister will ask both sides of federal politics to commit to flood-proofing the Bruce Highway

By Brad Gardner | April 6, 2011

Queensland will lobby both sides of federal politics to commit funds to the Bruce Highway, after a report revealed it would cost more than $5 billion to flood-proof the route.

The Main Roads report estimates the Federal Government will need to spend about $5.3 billion to prevent flooding along the 1,600km of road between Brisbane and Cairns.

Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace says he will discuss the report with his federal counterparts as soon as possible. He says the highway has been cut too many times during this year’s wet season due to rising waters.

"A generational commitment from both sides of federal politics is needed to stop flooding on the Bruce Highway," he says.

"The $5.3 billion cost is only for improving flood immunity, not for upgrading the road to widen it or to make other improvements, although immunity improvements and upgrades might occur at the same time."

According to the report, it will cost about $1.3 billion to flood-proof the Brisbane to Gympie section and about $1.3 billion from Gympie to Mackay.

Wallace says another $2.8 billion is needed for flood immunity works between Mackay and Cairns, which includes about $800 million for the Ingham region.

While saying $5.3 billion "is obviously a massive request", Wallace has criticised both sides of politics for what he considers a lack of funding for the Bruce Highway.

"What we have experienced this wet season is a symptom of neglect of our national highway in Queensland by both sides of federal politics for the past 40 years," he says.

"People in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra would not put up with their national highway being cut."

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