The first sod was turned on Friday on the AU$400m (£234m) project, which will support 470 jobs during construction. Contractor for the scheme is the Queensland-based Bielby Hull Albem Joint Venture.
The Ipswich motorway upgrade’s Rocklea to Darra–Stage 1 project is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments, with each committing AU$200m.
“Upgrading this section of the motorway from four to six lanes will improve safety and travel times for over 85,000 motorists, including 12,000 commercial vehicles, who use this stretch of the Ipswich Motorway each and every day,” said federal minister for urban infrastructure Paul Fletcher.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that the Ipswich Motorway Upgrade was a major infrastructure project that would have wide reaching benefits. “The Ipswich Motorway is an important part of our national freight network, linking surrounding areas to Brisbane and the intermodal freight terminal at Acacia Ridge,” she said. “The predicted industrial, commercial and residential growth in the western corridor means we must ensure the motorway meets the increasing traffic demand.”
The first major step in the construction phase will be the closing of the Donaldson Road exit ramp for construction of the new service road connection over the Oxley Creek floodplain on the northern side of the motorway. The closure is part of the permanent upgrade works that will reduce the number of entry and exit points on the motorway, improving safety and ease of operation.
Construction is expected to be completed by late 2020.