Sec­tion D of Bruce to cre­ate al­most 600 jobs, pre-work to start soon

The Gympie Times - - FRONT PAGE - SCOTT KOVACEVIC RE­PORTER [email protected]­

COSTED at $1 bil­lion and ex­pected to bring al­most 600 jobs over the course of its con­struc­tion, the Gympie By­pass is go­ing to move more than just traf­fic in the re­gion.

But when ex­actly is that work to start?

There is no easy an­swer but the re­gion’s res­i­dents can ex­pect some move­ment with the clear­ing of the cor­ri­dor ahead of con­struc­tion ex­pected to start within the next two months.

This in­cludes the re­moval of houses and sheds in the project’s path and the re­lo­ca­tion of power and phone lines.

And weather per­mit­ting, it should be done by mid-year, a Trans­port and Main Roads spokes­woman said.

A start date for work on Sec­tion D it­self is a lit­tle harder to pin­point thanks to a de­lay in de­liv­er­ing the busi­ness case to In­fra­struc­ture Aus­tralia.

“The busi­ness case re­quired up­dates to traf­fic mod­els and pro­jec­tions to re­flect re­cent trends and predictions for traf­fic growth in the re­gion,” she said.

It is “ex­pected to be sub­mit­ted to In­fra­struc­ture Aus­tralia soon”.

A spokesman for the fed­eral Depart­ment of In­fra­struc­ture, Re­gional Devel­op­ment and Cities said this is likely to be about March.

“The busi­ness case for the Cooroy to Curra – Sec­tion D project is ex­pected to be fi­nalised in the next one-two months, fol­low­ing which it will be sub­mit­ted to In­fra­struc­ture Aus­tralia for con­sid­er­a­tion,” he said.

“It is ex­pected that the ten­der process for con­struc­tion will fol­low once the busi­ness case has been fi­nalised.”

Those wait­ing to get a glimpse of the de­tailed maps will need some pa­tience, though.

The de­sign for the main align­ment is com­plete, the TMR spokes­woman said, but there was still work be­ing done on the aux­il­iary works and ser­vice re­lo­ca­tions.

“We will present the de­sign to the com­mu­nity at pub­lic dis­plays once con­sul­ta­tion with im­pacted prop­erty own­ers and all lev­els of govern­ment is com­plete,” she said.

Once all this is done and ten­ders are awarded, the ma­jor work will be­gin.

There should be a lot of it on of­fer, too.

The TMR spokes­woman said there is ex­pected to be 576 jobs up for grabs and those ea-

ger to land one should keep tabs on sev­eral chan­nels.

One is TMR’s main page on the project which will carry de­tails of con­tract win­ners and how to con­tact them.

Jobs will also pop up wher­ever those com­pa­nies choose to ad­ver­tise.

“Con­trac­tors and sub-con­trac­tors will also ad­ver­tise po­si­tions them­selves us­ing their pre­ferred chan­nels such as job search sites, em­ploy­ment agen­cies, in­dus­try con­tacts and ad­ver­tise­ments in The Gympie Times,” she said.

And it should be good news for Gympie res­i­dents and busi­nesses.

The spokesman for the fed­eral in­fra­struc­ture depart­ment said the Queens­land Govern­ment is re­quired to es­tab­lish a Lo­cal In­dus­try Par­tic­i­pa­tion Plan for projects of more than $20 mil­lion.

“The suc­cess­ful ten­derer for con­struc­tion of the works is re­quired to demon­strate how the con­trac­tor will en­gage lo­cal in­dus­try in the con­struc­tion of the works,” he said.

All of which brings us to the po­lit­i­cal ele­phant in the room – by the time work can fi­nally start on the project, the Fed­eral Govern­ment could have had a ma­jor over­haul.

Af­ter the re­lease of the lat­est polls last month, po­lit­i­cal pun­dits were spec­u­lat­ing the LNP could be on the bad end of a po­lit­i­cal blood­bath.

So what hap­pens to the project if this is how it plays out?

Shadow in­fra­struc­ture min­is­ter An­thony Al­banese said last week the project would stay on track if the ALP is elected.

“La­bor will hon­our the in­fra­struc­ture grants which were in the 2018 Bud­get but notes many are some time off from com­mence­ment,” he said.

He added that aside from Sec­tion D there had been no in­vest­ment in the Bruce High­way from the Coali­tion since 2013.

“It took a La­bor Govern­ment to get the Cooroy to Curra up­grade go­ing af­ter a decade of Coali­tion ne­glect.”

Wide Bay MP Llew O’Brien wel­comed Mr Al­banese’s words in re­gard to the “rock solid” by­pass fund­ing but re­served cau­tion.

“We’ve all seen how La­bor says one thing be­fore an elec­tion and then does the com­plete op­po­site after­wards,” Mr O’Brien said.

”This is a crit­i­cal project that will save lives and I want it to start, pro­ceed and progress and fin­ish as soon as pos­si­ble.”

Photo: Philippe Co­querand

SEE­ING THE FU­TURE: Pre-work clear­ing is ex­pected to start soon as con­struc­tion of the Gympie By­pass (which is to start at Ky­bong) heats up.

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