6 JULY 2017: Two preferred tenderers have been shortlisted to deliver the $515 million project to upgrade the notoriously dangerous and flood-prone Haughton River Bridge on the Bruce Highway, about 50km south of Townsville. The Australian Government’s $412 million commitment to the project is funded under the 10-year, $8.5 billion Bruce Highway Upgrade Program.
When I conducted the Fix The Bruce campaign, the Haughton River bridge was nominated as the most urgent problem to fix because of safety concerns. But the fix will also address one of the worst flood-prone areas on the Bruce Highway. Because of the urgent need to fix the problem, we are bringing the start of works forward nine months ahead of schedule to mid 2018.
The shortlisted contractors are Seymour Whyte-John Holland joint venture with AECOM and The Infrastructure Group joint venture between Bielby, BMD Constructions, JF Hull and Albem Pty Ltd with ARUP Group and HDR Inc. Construction is expected to start in August 2018 with the two shortlisted companies now preparing design and construct tenders for the project. Local businesses now have the opportunity to get involved in one of the largest projects the region has seen and I encourage them to contact the two shortlisted companies.
The works will replace the narrow Haughton River Bridge with a higher, wider bridge and upgrade around 14 kilometres of the highway where it crosses the floodplain between Ayr and Townsville. The new bridge will allow the Bruce Highway to remain open in all but the most severe floods, ensuring communities are not left stranded during extreme weather events.
When completed, the works will give stock and freight carriers, tourism industry operators, tourists and locals the certainty they need to efficiently run their businesses and get on with their daily lives. Preliminary work to facilitate construction of a higher, wider and safer bridge over the Haughton River – a key part of this project – has already been undertaken with exploratory drilling works recently completed for the installation of the new bridge’s foundation.