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Upgrades to the roads leading to the Central Queensland Livestock Exchange will get underway early next year after securing funding from both the Queensland and Commonwealth governments.
Canberra has allocated $20 million to the $30 million project under its Northern Australia Beef Roads program, aiming to upgrade the capacity and accessibility of 29km of roads between abattoirs in Rockhampton and the saleyards in Gracemere.
Access for Type 1 road trains to Rockhampton's area road network is under currently under strict permitting conditions administered by Queensland's Department of Transport and Main Roads.
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator currently issues permits to operators restricting operating hours to between 7pm and 7am, seven days a week.
The improvements to the Capricorn Highway, Bruce Highway, Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road and the Rockhampton-Emu Park Road will mean road trains will no longer need to decouple prior to entering Rockhampton from the Capricorn Highway.
Resources and northern Australia minister Matt Canavan says the change will both help improve safety and reduce costs in the beef supply chain, as well as reducing the need for cross-loading.
"Three years ago Bryson Mayne tragically lost his life decoupling trucks at Gracemere. Once these upgrades occur those risks won't need to be taken again," Canavan says.
Federal member for Capricornia Michelle Landry iss pleased to have seen the project proceed so quickly.
"This is a great project of real common sense; we had a problem with cross-loading at Gracemere, so we've implemented a solution," Landry says.
"The fact we could get the necessary works on the go in a timely manner is a credit to both levels of government working together for an outcome. That outcome is greater safety for our truckies and a more efficient flow of livestock."
Queensland transport and main roads minister Mark Bailey says funding has already been used to support intersection upgrades at Queen Elizabeth Drive/Lakes Creek Road and Moores Creek Road/Yaamba Road in north Rockhampton.
"The project will also improve safety by widening and improving the surface of Lakes Creek Road and St Christophers Chapel Road and well as replacing Frenchman's Creek Bridge," he says.
A $75 million project, to widen the Capricorn Highway for about 5km between Gracemere and Rockhampton from two lanes to four lanes, is scheduled to begin later this year.
This article first appeared on www.fullyloaded.com.au
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