Progress on proposed inland highway from Cairns to Mareeba

Jul 14, 2021

Progress on proposed inland highway from Cairns to Mareeba

Jul 14, 2021

THE Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) has confirmed a new inland highway between Mareeba and Cairns would likely link up to the Bruce Highway somewhere between Cairns and Gordonvale.

Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter, and State Member for Hill, Shane Knuth, met with TMR engineers today to get an update on the proposed new highway in far north Queensland, commonly known as the Kuranda Bypass or Bridle Track.

Mr Knuth said the new highway linking up somewhere between Gordonvale and Cairns would mean less disruption to residential areas when compared to other alternative routes that would go through suburbs like Redlynch.

“TMR are studying these possibilities in a $1.6m feasibility study that was announced by the Queensland Transport Minister following requests by the KAP,” Mr Knuth said.

“TMR have not provided a date for when that study will be completed, but we will continue to seek updates for the community.”

A decision will be made in October this year on the future of the Barron River Bridge which has been down to one lane of traffic, as TMR engineers complete assessments of its structural integrity.

Kennedy MP, Bob Katter, and Hill MP, Shane Knuth, are calling on the Queensland and Australian Governments to build a new inland highway from Cairns to Mareeba, rather than spend $400m on a new bridge at Kuranda.

“A new inland highway will save Tablelands and Cairns motorists 30minutes in travel time when compared to the existing route,” Mr Knuth said.

“A new, safer and wider highway will also open up the Tablelands, Gulf and Cape York regions and allow greater production in agriculture and mining.

 “There is much frustration held in the Mareeba and Tablelands communities when the Kuranda highway is closed two or three times a week during the wet season. A new road would overcome this.

“It’s the year 2021 and it’s been 30 or 40 years since we have seen real nation building projects in far north Queensland. This is the time for Government to act and build this inland highway.”

Kennedy MP, Bob Katter, said the new inland highway from Cairns to Mareeba will stop a lot of congestion in Cairns and will be a nation building project for Australia.

 “Chillagoe, Irvinebank and the Palmer River were massive mining areas, but this great mineral province has been shrunk and strangled to death because we can’t get our minerals out. Well, this new express highway will change that. The new agricultural and mining opportunities that will be kickstarted by this highway will bring in more than $5ba year into the economy.

 “The benefit of the new inland highway will also mean that the Kuranda Road can become a purpose-built tourism route, which is what it should have always been. It should be a slow-moving tourism highway through the jungle.”