Increased freight efficiency, significantly improved driver safety and community amenity by removing heavy vehicles from Toowoomba’s CBD are the major benefits the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing (TSRC) will provide when completed.
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Major construction works on the TSRC commenced in April 2016, with the objective being to connect a 43km road bypass route to the north of Toowoomba with the Warrego Highway at Helidon Spa in the east, and the Gore Highway at Athol in the west via Charleton.
Nexus Infrastructure was awarded the contract to design, construct, operate and maintain the TSRC in August 2015, with the Queensland Department of Main Roads having overall project management responsibility.
Nexus Infrastructure CEO John Hagan said the region has fought to have the TSRC built for more than 50 years.
“It will relieve pressure on Toowoomba’s local roads and enhance liveability for residents by eliminating the need for heavy vehicles to negotiate 18 sets of traffic lights in the Toowoomba CBD,” he said.
“The bypass will also reduce the journey of heavy vehicles using the TSRC up to 40 minutes each way.”
He said the TSRC is projected to contribute over $2.4 billion in economic and productivity gains for Toowoomba businesses and industry over the next 30 years.
The Darling Downs is the centre of Australia’s beef industry due to proximity, number and scale of grass-fed beef producers, feedlots and processing facilities in the region.
Beef is predicted to experience significant export growth to Asia, in particular, China, over the next 10 years.
“The TSRC will connect the highly productive agricultural and resource-rich Darling Downs, with west and north-west Qld, the northern inland region of NSW, and Toowoomba’s emerging intermodal and airfreight hubs with the Port of Brisbane, domestic and export supply chains and Australia’s major freight routes.”
The key features of the TSRC project include:
- Four lanes from Warrego Highway East Interchange to Warrego Highway West
- Grade-separated interchanges at Warrego Highway West, Toowoomba-Cecil Plains Road and Gore Highway
- Grade-separated connections to Mort Street and Boundary Street
- An approximately 30m deep cutting at the top of the Toowoomba Range, to ensure all classes of dangerous goods vehicles and heavy vehicles can be accommodated
- An 800m viaduct east of the New England Highway, crossing over the existing Queensland Rail line
- Continuity of the New England Highway through a new bridge over the TSRC cutting
Mr Hagan said the TSRC is an extremely complex project with more than 10 million cubic metres of earth moved in a cut to fill process, 24 bridges and more than 2000 pieces of heavy equipment used, and the project has worked in excess of 3.3 million staff hours across the 43km extent of the works.
He said while the TSRC project is progressing well, with most areas still on target to be completed by the end of 2018, “a complex geological issue will cause a delay of between four to seven months to the project’s overall completion due to additional excavation needed in a small section of the project”.
The $1.6 billion TSRC project is jointly funded by the Australian and Qld governments with an Australian Government contribution of $1.137 billion and the balance funded by the Queensland Government. It’s the largest Australian Government funding commitment to a single road project in the state’s history.