Revealed: The Rocky Ring Road map you need to see
THE YEAR 2020 promises to be a big one for road projects around Central Queensland but the question many people are asking is when construction will commence on the $1 billion Rockhampton Ring Road?
Heading north, work is well underway on the $121 million Rockhampton Northern Access Upgrade to widen 4.9km of the Bruce Highway to four lanes, a project forecast to create 260 jobs.
Heading west, work has commenced on the $75 million Capricorn Highway duplication between Rockhampton and Gracemere which will generate 187 jobs.
To the east, the planning process is well underway towards duplicating 21.5km of Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road in stages which was anticipated to cost $200 million to complete.
Linking these three projects together is the Rockhampton Ring Road project.
The project promises wide ranging benefits including improved road safety, strengthening the region's economy by improving freight efficiency, flood resilience and job opportunities, as well as increasing connectivity between key employment, leisure, tourism and residential growth areas.
Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke said the Department of Transport and Main Roads was in the midst of the planning and consultation phase for the Ring Road project.
This involved finalising the road alignment, considering road and bridge design options, completing environmental and cultural heritage assessments, hydraulic and traffic modelling and undertaking an economic analysis.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said planning was progressing well and the Preliminary Evaluation Report was complete with the detailed Business Case expected to be completed by mid 2020.
"The Department of Infrastructure is currently assessing a Project Proposal Report for the remaining planning funding to complete the remaining planning activities, public utility relocations and land acquisition," Ms Landry said.
"This equates to $33.3 million of Australian Government funding.
"Following the completion of the Business Case, the delivery schedule for the Rockhampton Ring Road will be confirmed."
Given the significance of her government's $800 million investment towards the Rockhampton Ring Road project, Ms Landry said they had committed an additional $52 million ($18.7m approved) for detailed scoping and development activities.
These included concept development, environmental assessments, property acquisition, development of the detailed design options, geotechnical investigations, surveys and service relocation, public utility services works, and further stakeholder and community engagement activities.
Mr O'Rourke encouraged community members to visit TMR's website where they would have an opportunity to share their views on the concept design, provide further feedback on the project to inform the business case and register to receive the latest project news.
"It's a billion dollar project so TMR is still very much out talking to property owners along the future road corridor about what to expect in terms of how it will affect their properties during construction," Mr O'Rourke said.
He expressed hope that federal funding earmarked to flow towards the project in 2022-2023, could be released sooner.
Thanks to funding commitments from both levels of government approaching $1.5 billion in value, Mr O'Rourke said the region's "road construction boom" was the reason why businesses were opening up around town, confident there was a steady pipeline of work to keep them going over the coming years.
TMR will be conducting a series of community drop-in sessions in early 2020 where the concept design for the project will be presented.
It anticipates work to start in early 2021.
To contribute to the public consultation phase, visit: rockhamptonringroad.tmr.qld.gov.au/rockhampton-ring-road/home.