Prime Mover Magazine

Massive new outback transport route takes shape

The first of five upgrade packages estimated to cost $26 million over the next three years have commenced in western Queensland according to the Federal Government.

An 18 kilometre section of road has been sealed between Boulia and Tobermorey before road crews start paving and sealing a further 25 kilometre stretch of road linking the two communities as part of the Outback Way project announced in the lead up to the May Federal election.

Another 17 kilometres of road between Winton and Boulia will be widened under the scheme to connect mining and agricultural industries with rail and ports infrastructure.

Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the road upgrade would support communities and drive even more tourism through ‘Australia’s Longest Shortcut’.

“We’re delivering more than $14.5 billion for regional Queensland roads and transport over the next four years,” he said.

“I recently visited Winton and the message is clear: sealing roads better connects our communities, supports the economy and creates much-needed jobs."

The life of the first three upgrade projects will support 41 jobs reported Bailey who said the completion of all five stages will equate with 90 per cent of Outback Way in Queensland being sealed.

Federal Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the upgrade packages would boost road safety.

“The upgrades will help all motorists, locals and visitors alike, to get to their destination safely,” he said.

“It is a welcome investment in the area and community.”

Queensland Senator Susan McDonald said that the Outback Way upgrades would support the regional economy.

“These works, once completed, will help boost efficiency and productivity and improve the supply chain,” she said.

“Making our transport network more efficient will support agriculture and small business in regional Queensland," McDonald said.

“The final two upgrades are now in the planning phase and are expected to begin early next year.”

The Australian Government is contributing more than $21 million to the five upgrade packages, with the Queensland Government committing about $1.9 million and Boulia Shire Council about $3.4 million.

Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Government had committed $330 million over ten years to improve key sections of the Outback Way, a 2800 kilometre route connecting Laverton in Western Australia with Winton in Queensland.

“The Outback Way is well placed to support the agriculture and mining industries and has the potential to enhance new tourism opportunities throughout inland Australia,” he said.

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