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Cardwell Range Realignment contract awarded to Abigroup

13 May 2010

Following a competitive design and construct procurement process by Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads aimed at identifying the best value for money proposition, Abigroup has been appointed to straighten and upgrade the Bruce Highway over the Cardwell Range in North Queensland.

The Cardwell Range Realignment is a $115 million federally-funded project that will improve traffic flow and safety on a 4.2 kilometre section of the Bruce Highway.  It will be delivered under an Alliance between the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Abigroup and SMEC Australia.

The Alliance Manager is Abigroup’s Matthew Quy-Verlander, who has over 20 years experience in the transport infrastructure industry in Queensland and the United Kingdom.  Matt recently completed Brisbane’s world class Northern Busway and is looking forward to bringing lessons learnt from that experience to North Queensland.

“It’s an exciting challenge to deliver this important infrastructure in the high rainfall area of tropical North Queensland and in a sensitive World Heritage rainforest,” said Matt. 

“We’re aiming to complete the project by late 2012, depending on the weather and look forward to leaving a positive legacy for the surrounding community and natural environment.”

The key features of Abigroup’s successful proposal include:

  • realigning the Highway to provide a high-standard facility over the Cardwell Range, whilst achieving a reduction in overall footprint;
  • incorporating a four lane, 180 metre long, high-level bridge (viaduct) and other structures over deep gullies to improve fauna connectivity and provide a net environmental benefit;
  • providing new safer access for northbound and southbound traffic to an enhanced Hinchinbrook Lookout, which will include interpretive signage featuring educational Aboriginal culture and history, local flora and fauna, conservation and surrounding landscape information;
  • constructing a highway overpass at the North Coast Rail line Rungoo crossing – a known black spot;
  • reducing the visual impact of road from the nearby Hinchinbrook Channel through smart design and enhanced forest rehabilitation
  • constructing wider road shoulders for breakdowns and cyclists and provision of heavy vehicle overtaking lanes over the crest of the range.

Detailed design on the Cardwell Range Realignment project has commenced and, following a range of early works, construction on the Realignment will commence later this year.

Permanent works will be constructed away from the existing highway where possible to improve safety by minimising interaction between construction vehicles, workers and the travelling public. This approach not only has construction programme benefits but also it reduces the traffic change requirements.

    Artist's impressions of the Bruce Highway, North Queensland



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