The work is part of a AU$8.5bn investment to upgrade the Bruce Highway.
“Mackay is one of Queensland's fastest growing regions and this project will improve the local road network and ease congestion and safety issues,” said Australia’s deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure and regional development Warren Truss.
Queensland minister for main roads, road safety and ports, Mark Bailey, said that after three years of planning, the project would now move onto the detailed design phase, which is expected to take two years to finalise.
Construction for Stage 1 is expected to begin in 2017 and take about two and a half years to complete, weather permitting.
“Local residents, businesses and visitors to Mackay will be the beneficiaries of a better, more efficient road network. Importantly, this project will generate more than 600 direct jobs for workers at a time when jobs and job security are more important than ever,” said Bailey.
The design for Stage 1 includes an 11.3km two-lane rural highway bypass that will avoid 10 signalised intersections from Stockroute Road to Bald Hill Road. In total, 14 new bridges will be constructed, including local road overpasses and major waterway crossings of the Pioneer River and the Fursden Creek floodplain.