PM's $800M pledge for Rocky Ring Road
AFTER years of speculation, the Federal Government will deliver a solid commitment today to build Rockhampton's $1 billion Ring Road.
Scott Morrison, on his first official visit to the region as Prime Minister, will announce $800 million for the much-anticipated project which is set to cut travel times and improve road safety with fewer big rigs driving local streets.
The Ring Road is estimated to cost $1 billion and the $800 million commitment represents Canberra's 80 per cent contribution to the project. The project is subject to the Queensland Government agreeing to 20 per cent of the costs.
The announcement comes after the Labor Party pledged to start construction of the Ring Road in its first term should it win the next election.
"We want to tackle congestion to make life easier for commuters and better connect local farmers and businesses with their customers," Mr Morrison said.
"Local MP Michelle Landry has been championing this project and our government has listened. What we'll be able to achieve here is something significant with jobs and it's a statement about what we believe about regional Australia."
The Ring Road was suggested in a 2011 report into long-term solutions for Bruce Hwy flooding and impacts on freight, road and rail transport in the region.
It will create a western link of the Bruce Hwy, flowing back into Rockhampton at the Capricorn Hwy, Ridgelands Rd, Alexandra St and Yaamba Rd.
Mr Morrison said the Ring Road was one of many large projects which would deliver long-term economic benefits to Central Queensland.
The funding will begin what Mr Morrison described as "an enormous amount of work" to get the project under way.
A business case will need to be developed, covering the proposed route, procurement, budget implications, and proposed start and finish dates.
The State Government will be responsible for capital works and the Federal Government has pledged to work with it to "ensure the works are delivered as soon as possible".
Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Michael McCormack said the infrastructure would improve the city's flood immunity and deliver a new Fitzroy River crossing.
"For the community, this all translates to fewer closures, reduced congestion and less time spent stuck in traffic," he said.
"For freight vehicles, it means avoiding economic losses by keeping goods moving when previously they had to wait for floodwaters to subside."
Ms Landry said the $800 million investment was in addition to $52 million the Federal Government committed to the $65 million planning and corridor preservation works being undertaken in partnership with the State.
"The plan and preserve project is examining all the necessary details in terms of project scope, so the Ring Road is a key initiative we have been preparing for," Ms Landry said.
"Our community wants to spend less time in the car and more time with their families, our businesses want to get out of traffic and get the goods into stores, and we want to get freight trucks out of the CBD and off suburban streets.
"This project will deliver all of that."