Motorists travelling on the Peak Downs Highway can now take in spectacular views across the Pioneer Valley from the new rest area on Eton Range crossing, west of Mackay.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Australian Government committed $166.17 million to the $189.26 million Eton Range realignment project, improving road safety on the Peak Downs Highway.
“It is vital for road safety that we have places for drivers to stop and take a break,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“The Eton Range rest area provides a great incentive to stop, with elevated views across to The Leap from about 250 metres above sea level.
“It is a secure and easy-to-access area, with wheelchair-accessible paths and parking, CCTV, sheltered tables and a viewing platform.”
Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said the rest area was the last stage of the significant Eton Range upgrade, connecting Bowen and Galilee Basin coalmines to Mackay businesses.
“This project has been a massive improvement for all road users, including heavy and oversize vehicles in particular,” Mr Bailey said.
“The rest area and lookout feature native species, landscaping and a 780-metre-long reinforced embankment.
“I expect the views from the rest area will become an attraction in their own right, with Queenslanders taking road trips and holiday-makers visiting the state.
“Connecting Queensland and creating jobs is absolutely critical – and this is another way our jointly-funded investments is sparking our economic recovery.”
Assistant Minister for Northern Australia and Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said about 5,000 vehicles cross the range daily and it is now safer with a reduced gradient and four lanes to allow for more passing opportunities.
“A key benefit of the project was to reduce the current grade to improve safety for heavy vehicles and other measures to help control approach and departure speeds,” Ms Landry said.
“The works now accommodate type 1 road trains to travel through the Eton Range.”
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said this project had proved to be a real win for the local region.
“This investment has created 295 jobs throughout the construction phase and ties in well with other great surrounding projects,” Mr Christensen said.
“The Mackay region has a lot to be excited about with the completion of the Peak Downs Highway Safety Works, paired with the recent completion of the jointly funded $497.9 million Mackay Ring Road – Stage 1 project.”
Assistant Minister for Regional Roads Bruce Saunders said the project was a key cornerstone of the Queensland Government’s $17.8 billion program to unlock better roads and transport in regional Queensland, while also creating more than 16,000 jobs.
“We’ve completed the Ring Road, we’ve approved the Olive Downs mine, and we’ve now completed Eton Range upgrade to make sure our trucks, workers and products can get to their destination quickly and safely,” Mrs Gilbert said.
“You only have to hop on any job search website to see there are literally thousands of jobs on offer in the Mackay region, because we’re investing in the roads and infrastructure to support business and new opportunities.”
The Eton Range realignment project was a jointly funded project, with the Australian Government committing $166.17 million and the Queensland Government committing the remaining
For more information on the Eton Range realignment, go to www.tmr.qld.gov.au/projects/eton-range-realignment-project.