Gairloch floodplain upgrade on the Bruce Hwy QLD enters planning stage

Monica Gameng   |   October 21, 2021
Road image (cr: Pixabay - Larisa Koshkina)

The Gairloch floodway on the Bruce Highway – approximately five kilometres north of Ingham in Queensland – will soon receive works to improve flood immunity and safety as planning goes underway for the vital upgrade project. 

The Gairloch floodway is located at the heart of a 13-kilometre flood-prone section of the Bruce Highway – from the southern outskirts of Ingham to the foothills of Cardwell Range. 

One or more locations along this section of the Bruce Highway closes every two years when flooding occurs, specifically during the wet season, with closures lasting for hours up to several days at a time. The Gairloch floodway experiences the most significant and longest closures. 

“We understand the importance of keeping people, goods and services moving, which is why we have committed $40 million to investigate Bruce Highway flooding and safety issues at Gairloch. 

“Under this commitment, we will undertake planning to identify a suitable treatment which will reduce the length of highway closures due to flooding. 

“The treatment identified during this planning will also need to align with the broader flood characteristics between Ingham and the Cardwell Range, and complement the government’s long-term plans to address these flooding closures,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said. 

The decision to progress the project to detailed design and construction will depend on the outcome from this planning stage. 

The Queensland Government will be delivering this vital projects and field-based planning investigations will soon begin, with works to include survey, environmental assessments and geotechnical investigations. 

“Whilst this project will not completely flood-proof the Bruce Highway between Ingham and Cardwell, we should see fewer and shorter closures. 

“It is important to recognise that this project is an interim measure. It will not provide complete flood immunity to the closures that are associated with the highway’s existing alignment within the Herbert River floodplain. 

“What we will achieve with this project is reducing the frequency and duration of closures due to flooding at Gairloch, however it won’t be a complete flood immunity solution,” Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said. 

gairloch-floodplain-bruce-highwayProject location (source: Australian Government)

The upgrade will aim to achieve at Gairlock a similar level of flood immunity as that on the Bruce Highway at Seymour River as well as the southern outskirts of the Ingham township. 

Along with planning, consultation will also commence soon on the Bruce Highway – Ingham to Cardwell Range Deviation (Plan and Preserve Corridor) project. 

“This project is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments to the value of $48 million and will look to update the findings from a previous planning study in 2011. 

“The previous study identified the need for a more comprehensive solution to address flooding on this section of the Burce Highway, which was to re-locate the Bruce Highway out of the Lower Herbert River floodplain, to the west of Ingham,” Minister Bailey said. 

Minister Bailey also said that the upcoming planning phase for the project will update the findings from the 2011 planning study. This planning stage will also undertake further technical investigations that will inform detailed planning as well as confirm or amend the preferred alignment of the corridor and seek necessary Australian Government approvals. 

“Regional and local stakeholders and communities in Far North and North Queensland will also have the opportunity to provide their perspectives on the nature and extent of the problems associated with the Bruce Highway in this area as part of the upcoming planning project; with regional engagement commencing in early 2022,” Minister Bailey said. 

Source: Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development; Australian Government – Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and CommunicationsRoads and Infrastructure Australia 

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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