Government promises $152 million to build Smithfield Bypass
Construction of the Smithfield Bypass will start next year after a stunner of an announcement to fund the $152 million project by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk last night.
The much debated road project is the latest in a string of government promises for the Cairns region worth nearly half a billion dollars.
The $152 million Smithfield Bypass project follows funding announcements for the $176 million Cairns Convention Centre expansion and the $120 million plan to dredge Trinity Inlet, on top of a range of smaller projects including the Cairns ambulance centre redevelopment and direct flights to China.
Construction on the bypass road will start next year on the 3.8km two-lane bypass road between the Yorkeys Knob turn-off and the McGregor Rd roundabout.
The new road will run parallel to the Captain Cook Highway, with the McGregor Rd roundabout set to become an intersection controlled by a set of traffic lights.
The new bypass road will return to the highway at a two-way overpass at the new intersection.
In a statement to the media, Premier Palaszczuk said:
“The people of Cairns have been hearing about the proposed Smithfield bypass road for a long time now, and Member for Barron River Craig Crawford has been a relentless advocate for the project, so I am pleased to announce today it is now a reality.
“The new road will cater for current and future traffic demand on Captain Cook Highway by directing through-traffic away from the busy roundabouts at Smithfield and Caravonica.
“This will shorten traffic queues and reduce the risk of crashes at the roundabouts.”
The four-year project will employ an estimated 115 full-time workers during construction.
The State Government says the bypass road will reduce journey times along the nearly 4km stretch by nearly 65 per cent during morning peak times and 75 per cent in the afternoon.
The announcement delivers a massive boost to the re-election prospects of Barron River MP Craig Crawford as he takes on former member Michael Trout in the crucial swing seat.