LABOR candidate for Capricornia Leisa Neaton hit the campaign accelerator yesterday by pledging $139 million in highway and road upgrades for the region.
In her biggest funding coup of the Federal Election so far, Ms Neaton said a Labor government would deliver the following upgrades: Capricorn Highway - Rocky to Gracemere ($75 million), Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road ($30 million), Capricorn Highway overtaking lanes ($19 million) and Rockhampton (Bajool to Port Alma Road) Port Access Road ($15 million).
"I'm pretty sure (Rockhampton Mayor) Margaret Strelow will be happy with this announcement (the Gracemere to Rockhampton upgrade) and the improved access to the industrial precinct and beyond," she said standing outside the pre-polling booth on Archer St yesterday afternoon.
"This is not only for safety reasons but improved options for transport, goods and freight."
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese announced the funding package yesterday saying the projects would boost exports, create hundreds of jobs, drive growth and investment and improve safety on the roads.
Ms Neaton said the 16km four-lane extension of Yeppoon- Rockhampton Road from Iron Pot Road to Neil's Road was a major boost for commuters and tourists.
"We knew we wouldn't get all the way (with $30m) and there is still work to be done, but this will improve access for workers, locals and tourists (11000 vehicle movements currently every day)," she said.
Her major long-term vision for the region is a four lane highway between Rockhampton and Gladstone.
"I want to work across electorates in tandem, (such as Flynn) not just one patch, with a more strategic view of what can be achieved through these road networks - safe commutability for families and bringing more people to the region," she said.
"The long term idea for the improved Rockhampton connection is to future proof both areas.
"What happens is while one is going off the other one is going off the boil, so if we can improve that highway access we can make it more seamless for workers and families commuting between Rockhampton and Gladstone."
She said one of the main focuses for Labor was to boost job growth and these projects would achieve that.
"The funding for these roads will come from the Northern Australia Roads Program, which is already in the Budget," she said.
Zac Beers, Labor Candidate for Flynn, said the duplication of the Capricorn Highway from Gracemere to Rocky was a big win for the region and a big win for the 17,000 people who use the road every day.
"There are over 8400 people who live in Gracemere that will benefit from this upgrade, from a safety and time-saving perspective.
"These $139 million of road projects will also generate hundreds of jobs."
LABOR'S HWY PROJECT DETAILS
Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road ($30 million). Upgrade remaining 16 kilometres of the road from Iron Pot Road to Neil's Road to four lanes, starting from the Yeppoon end. Improve safety and productivity for 11,000 vehicles using the road each day including 120 heavy vehicle movements per day
Capricorn Highway overtaking lanes ($19 million)
Construction of up to six overtaking lanes between Gracemere and Emerald to reduce delays and improve safety for drivers overtaking slow vehicles
Capricorn Highway - Rockhampton to Gracemere ($75 million)
Upgrade the Capricorn Highway from Rockhampton to Gracemere from two lanes to four lanes to improve travel times and reduce congestion. Improve safety for 17,000 vehicles using the road currently and cater for predicted traffic growth
Rockhampton (Bajool to Port Alma Road) pavement widening port access road ($15 million)
Upgrade 25 kilometres of narrow and rough pavement on the Port Alma Road and Port Access Road to widen the road and relocate power poles located close to the sides of the road which are posing a safety threat
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