Stage two of the Kennedy Highway safety upgrade has started, continuing the progress made on the jointly funded $37.5 million project between Mareeba and Atherton.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the project was funded under the Roads Infrastructure Stimulus Package initiative.
"The Kennedy Highway is a strategic link in Queensland's road network, connecting mining, agriculture and tourism across far north Queensland," Mr McCormack said.
"Improving road safety and efficiency has far reaching benefits - for industry, holiday makers and local residents."
Local company Robinson Civil Group are delivering the second stage of works, supporting 121 jobs for the project.
The projects key features include; installing a wider centre line to prevent head on crashes, installing an audio line marking to prevent fatigue incidents, and a widening of the road shoulders.
Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the state government had worked with the Commonwealth to accelerate funding.
"We are pressing on with infrastructure projects right across the state, including this second stage of the Kennedy Highway safety upgrades," he said.
Kennedy MP Bob Katter said the planned upgrades don't go far enough.
"Whilst the upgrades between Atherton and Mareeba are good, they don't mean too bloody much," he said.
"The new road we need is between Mareeba and Cairns.
"There's 60,000 people living in Mareeba and the Atherton Tablelands and to get to Cairns they have to go over the Barron River bridge - that's only allowed three cars at a time."
Mr Katter welcomed all safety upgrades and said he does not need to be reminded of the tragedy that can happen on rural roads.
"One of my close friends, Jack Pickering and his wife Joy were killed in a head on, on a single lane highway," he said.
"Making the road wider and safer is important, especially during the wet season because when you've got an oncoming car, one of you have to leave the highway, and the shoulders are just so soft.
"Atherton to Mareeba is also a busy truck route so the upgrades will make the roads safer for all."
Queensland Senator Susan McDonald said the project will help boost north Queensland's economy.
"Roads are so important on the Tablelands due to the large amount of farm machinery and trucks carrying livestock and produce," she said.
The project is expected to be completed by early 2022, weather permitting.
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