WATCH: First look at finished Eton Range realignment
THE $189.26 million Eton Range realignment, west of Mackay, is now open to traffic after years in the making.
The significant upgrade to the Peak Downs Highway will address safety and congestion concerns while delivering a better connection to communities west of Mackay.
“This upgrade will encourage even more investment in the region as it will improve the connection between the Bowen and Galilee Basin coal mines and Mackay businesses,” Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said.
“We are investing in our post-pandemic future by delivering lasting infrastructure which will kickstart our economic recovery and benefit Australians for years to come.”
The project supported almost 300 jobs and will be key to the ongoing freight movement which makes up vital industries in the Mackay and Isaac region, such as mining.”
Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said workers reduced the road’s gradient to 7.5 per cent and also built a reinforced embankment, measuring 780 metres long and 45 metres high at its highest point.
“Safer, quicker access from our resource provinces to the Mackay Port and Bruce Highway is absolutely crucial to getting our economy going again as we come out the other side of COVID-19,” Mr Bailey said.
Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert said the Eton Range realignment would continue to make an economic contribution to the region by complementing other road projects such as the Mackay Ring Road and Walkerston Bypass.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said the area would also include a rest stop for drivers with picnic tables in the coming months.
She said introducing four lanes over the crossing, separated in some parts, greatly reduced the need for closures during oversize vehicle movements or other road incidents.
“An estimated 5000 vehicles cross the range each day and the gentler gradient and large-radius corners will help control speed, while fewer delays will make the road safer for all motorists,” she said.
The $189.26 million project was jointly funded by the Australian Government committing $166.17 million and the Queensland Government committing the remaining $23.09 million.