What’s happening with the Toowoomba Bypass?
TO say that the Toowoomba Bypass has been a long time coming, is something of an understatement. Long-term residents of Toowoomba have heard talk, rumour and gossip about the project for near on twenty years; "Seeing is believing" being a popular refrain. But in December, 2015, talk became reality when the first lumps of soil were finally turned.So, a few months down the track, what is happening and what does it all mean for the residents of Toowoomba and surrounds?
The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing (TSRC), as it is more rightly known, has the potential to bring a number of benefits to the region. Amongst these are increased employment - up to 1800 direct and indirect jobs during construction and maintenance of the project. Increased economic activity in the region to the tune of $2.4 million dollars is also expected over the next 30 years as this safer, faster transport route facilitates growth in freight movement. Finally, but equally importantly, enhanced liveability for the Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley areas is expected to be a by-product of the project with the diversion of up to 80 per cent of the super-heavy commercial vehicles that have been blighting local roads in recent times.
Boasting the largest funding commitment by the Australian Government to a single road project in Queensland history, the Range Crossing will ultimately link the Warrego Highway at Helidon Spa to the Gore Highway at Athol. The 41 km project will require quite a few engineering feats, not least of which is the 30 metre deep cutting at the top of the Range to allow for the safe passage of heavy vehicles, including over-dimensional vehicles and those carrying dangerous goods. An 800metre viaduct will also be built over the existing Queensland Rail line as part of the development.
But the real question on everybody's lips is when will it be ready? Early works are anticipated to continue during the first half of 2016 with major construction kicking off later in the year. Completion of the entire project is forecast for late 2018, provided the weather gods send their blessings...
With expectations are high, this is one project worth watching…
SOURCE : Key figures courtesy of Main Roads Spokesperson