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  • Cairns gets massive highway upgrade with $287 million funding boost in Federal Budget

    More than a quarter of a billion dollars will be spent upgrading the Captain Cook Highway in a major infrastructure funding boost in tonight's Federal Budget.

    Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch announced the "game-changing" $287.2 million project this morning, saying it would tackle congestion and improve safety between Cairns Airport and Smithfield.

    Components of the upgrade include:

    • link the Cairns CBD to the Smithfield Bypass
    • significant upgrades at the three major roundabouts along the Captain Cook Highway
    • additional in-and-outbound lanes between Airport Drive and the Yorkeys Knob roundabout
    • significant intersection upgrades at Arnold Street, Whitfield Street, Tom McDonald Drive and Airport Avenue
    • address congestion issues outside Mother of Good Counsel School via a planned pedestrian overpass

     “This project will transform the link between Cairns and the Northern Beaches and improve the way of life for thousands of residents," Mr Entsch said.

    Mr Entsch called on the State Government to contribute $82.8 million towards the project, taking the total investment to $370 million.

    Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the highway upgrade will be a major step in the city's development as an export and services hub.

    “The project will connect Cairns Airport and port to the region’s critical agricultural areas such as the Atherton Tablelands, Cape York Peninsula and Mossman,” Mr McCormack said.

    “This capacity-boosting project will address the significant congestion on the Captain Cook Highway that is constraining access to the port from the north and west of Cairns, as well as between the port and the airport.”