Tropic Now exclusive
The pressure is now firmly on the State Government to stump up the funds and get cracking on the Cairns Ring Road project.
The Federal Government will tomorrow announce the Captain Cook Highway will be added to the National Land Transport Network, a key step forward in local road infrastructure.
It means the Feds will take responsibility for 80% of the funding and maintenance of the highway, which in turns frees up cash for the State Government to undertake much needed upgrades of the Western Arterial Road - which it has 100% responsibility for.
The Morrison Government has accused the Palaszczuk Labor Government of stalling progress on Captain Cook Highway upgrades, with $287.2 million committed by the Feds towards the project.
But the next big political battleground in the looming state election come October will be the Western Arterial Rd.
The Western Arterial connection is a key component of the Cairns Ring Road project, long advocated for by Advance Cairns, but the estimated cost to upgrade it has so far proven too great for any state administration to commit to.
Advance Cairns has estimated that $365.5 million worth of investment is required to cover the cost of the Western Arterial Road upgrades.
Proposed works include upgrading three major intersections through a combination of overpass, traffic signal and slip lane projects, duplicating the full length of the road to increase traffic lanes from 1 to 2 in each direction and duplicating the Barron River Bridge at Kamerunga and the Redlynch overpass.
Rumour has it that Premier Palaszczuk will visit Cairns to make a pre-election funding promise to upgrade the Western Arterial Rd.
Meanwhile, the now Federally designated Captain Cook Highway also requires some funding and action from the State Government.