More changes, including extra lanes for eastbound and westbound travel over the Bruce Highway, are on the way to improve traffic flow at Australia’s first diverging diamond interchange.
A diverging diamond interchange moves right-turning motorists to the edge of the interchange, allowing them to turn right without giving way to or blocking traffic coming the other way.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said a new exit ramp and additional lanes would start to open this week, marking the latest stage in the interchange’s progressive opening as part of the Bruce Highway Upgrade – Caloundra Road to Sunshine Motorway (CR2SM) project.
“A new southbound Bruce Highway exit to Landsborough – Exit 188 – will be the latest diverging diamond interchange section to open to traffic and the old exit loop to Landsborough will close,” Mr McCormack said.
“Motorists will notice improvements with the additional traffic lanes for both eastbound and westbound travel over the Bruce Highway, including a new eastbound section of Caloundra Road. The changes will also improve the way the traffic signals operate as motorists move through the interchange.
“This is a great local example of how the Australian Government’s $100 billion nationwide infrastructure investment is setting the foundations for economic recovery on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis.”
Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said the CR2SM project had implemented additional workplace health and safety measures to ensure construction could continue in the current tough times.
“Now more than ever, it’s crucial major construction projects like this one can continue to support jobs, the supply chain and the local economy,” Mr Bailey said.
“By keeping the work flowing on this project and others like it, there is a solid pipeline of major road construction projects coming online to support Sunshine Coast jobs. This project is supporting an average of 680 jobs at a time when creating and maintaining jobs has never been more critical.
“There is still work to be done on the diverging diamond interchange; however, we expect to have every lane and access ramp fully open and operating until the end of the year.
“Work on the $301.25 million Maroochydore and Mons Road interchange upgrades and the $1 billion Gympie Bypass, which will see 26 kilometres of new four-lane, divided highway constructed east of Gympie, will start over the next month or so.
“Those two projects will support almost 1,000 jobs, and with design started on a $662.5 million project to widen the Bruce Highway from four to six lanes between Caboolture-Bribie Island Road and Steve Irwin Way (Exit 163), we’ve got more fully funded upgrades ready to follow them.”
Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace said that this new upgrade has come at a perfect time for the Sunshine Coast.
“Now more than ever we need to get the Sunshine Coast moving so that we can get our economy back on track as quickly as possible. Time is money, so we need to save local businesses and commuters every minute we can. And, when they return to our region, we need to make tourists’ experience on the Sunshine Coast as smooth and enjoyable as possible.” Mr Wallace said.
“These new lanes will mean less peak-period congestion, and better safety for drivers on what has been one of the Bruce Highway’s biggest accident hotspots. Diverging diamond interchanges like this have seen great success worldwide, and as more sections like this open in the weeks and months to come we are going to see an ever smoother and safer experience for the 60,000 drivers who come through here every day”.
“This is much-needed work for our hard hit local construction industry, it is a much needed improvement to support the recovery of our struggling tourism businesses, and it is a boost for all Sunshine Coast locals who want to spend less time in traffic and more time with their families.” he said.
Federal Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien said it was exciting to see this upgrade turning into a reality for the wider Sunshine Coast community.
“Construction is the second largest industry on the Sunshine Coast with at least one out of 10 workers directly employed in the sector. So if we’re to provide the foundations for a successful recovery from COVID-19 here locally, we must see major construction projects continue to roll out,” Mr O’Brien said.
“Finalising the Caloundra Road to Sunshine Motorway roadworks by the end of this year, while beginning new Bruce Highway works at the Maroochydore Road and Mons Road interchanges, does exactly that.”
The Bruce Highway Upgrade – Caloundra Road to Sunshine Motorway is funded on an 80/20 basis with the Australian Government contributing $650.36 million and the Queensland Government contributing $162.59 million.
This project is part of the 15-year Bruce Highway Upgrade Program, a $12.6 billion program of works to improve safety, flood resilience and capacity along the Bruce Highway from Brisbane to Cairns. The program is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments, with the Australian Government contributing $10 billion and the Queensland Government contributing $2.6 billion.