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Community & Business

22 July, 2021

Edmonton area now favoured as new highway exit point

THE ongoing push to establish and construct a new dual lane inland highway to link Mareeba with Cairns has taken an interesting twist with a different outer suburb now thought to be preferred ahead of Redlynch.

By Michael Warren

Hill MP Shane Knuth and Kennedy MP Bob Katter look at route options for the proposed Kuranda Range Bypass Road.

THE ongoing push to establish and construct a new dual lane inland highway to link Mareeba with Cairns has taken an interesting twist with a different outer suburb now thought to be preferred ahead of Redlynch. 

Throughout the year the Kuranda Bypass Road steering committee has advocated for it to enter or leave Cairns from Redlynch, however it’s understood Transport and Main Roads (TMR) doesn’t support that option. 

The Express however, understands that TMR views the picturesque suburb as too residential and simply not the ideal entry/exit point. 

As such it’s now believed Edmonton, or quite possibly an area near Gordonvale have both firmed as potential linkage options from Mareeba if the road was ever to be built. 

The new highway would also potentially include a 1.4km tunnel on the Cairns side to avoid any clash with existing World Heritage rainforest. 

That development comes after both Hill MP Shane Knuth and Kennedy MP Bob Katter met with TMR officials in Cairns to further lobby the case for the inland highway to be constructed as a matter of priority. 

The potential or even immediate construction of the much talked about highway though hinges on the findings of a $1.6M planning study which TMR confirmed it’s currently in the process of finalizing. 

The study was commissioned to investigate capacity, safety and efficiency improvements of transport routes between Cairns and The Tablelands including any serious potential for the Kuranda Range Bypass Road. 

“The meeting with TMR officials was very positive,” Mr Knuth told The Express. 

“The desire for this highway has been pushed for more than 40 years; along with saving up to 25-30 minutes on the drive one-way this highway would open up other inland regions like Cape York, the Gulf of Carpentaria and the mineral province. 

“There has been a push for Redlynch, however I believe TMR is uncomfortable about this. 

“I believe some within TMR have put their cases forward that they’re uncomfortable with it coming out at Redlynch so there’s now an interest in it possibly coming out around Edmonton or just south of that area. 

“That seems to be the favorable exit point from the Cairns side of things at this present moment, as it’s a less residential area.”


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