COMMENCEMENT of works on the Burke Development Road’s (BDR) Chillagoe to Almaden progressive sealing is now underway courtesy of the Mareeba Shire Council, Roadtek and the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR).
Calls for this project to take place have been in the pipeline for a number of years, often spearheaded by Mareeba Shire Council (MSC) Mayor Tom Gilmore and MSC Councillor Kevin Davies.
The project involves the widening and sealing of approximately 1.8 kilometres of unsealed road west of Alamaden, of which includes the upgrade of the culvert over Four Mile Creek. The upgrade, which is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2019, is funded by the Australian Government and TMR/State Government under the North Australia Beef Roads Program.
The foreseen benefits to come as a result of the project include improved productivity and travel times by sealing unsealed sections of road, reduced stress and damage to livestock, improved road safety, improved route reliability and reduced road closures due to wet weather, and reduced whole-of-life asset management costs.
Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said sealing the Burke Development Road is understandably a big focus of our community.
“It’s important for road safety and also improves the dust issues that many people have raised with me,” she said.
“Thanks to our government’s partnership with the Federal Government, we managed to get funding under the Northern Australia Beef Roads Programme (NABRP) to grade two of the worst, most rutted sections on the road covering about 7km between Chillagoe and Almaden.
“Mareeba Shire Council did that work late last year, and I know the Mayor has been a big champion in calling on securing further funding to seal more sections of the road.
“I pushed for funding in our most recent State Budget and I’m pleased we’ve been able to lock in $7.4 million in jointfunding under the beef roads program to seal.”
Cr Davies, who worked on the Burke Development Road 30 years ago as a foreman, said it’s great to see the upgrade come to fruition.
“It’s been quite some time since we have paid some attention to upgrading the Burke Development Road, but I’m pleased that it’s once again a priority of the Federal and State Governments,” he said.
“I have made a concerted effort since being councillor to ensure this project goes ahead – there has been seven kilometres of works completed in my time as councillor and hopefully I’ll get to see it through.”
Mr Davies said the Mareeba Shire Council as a whole has been pushing hard for the road to Chillagoe to be sealed fully.
“This will open up opportunities to Chillagoe by increasing tourist numbers and will enhance the locals’ way of life with better conditions for travelling on this section of the road,” he said.
“With the help of local MP Cynthia Lui, the State Government has allocated an extra $5 million for this section of road in next year’s capital funding.
“We hope the federally funded Northern Beef Road funding will also be duplicated next year to see the final sections sealed along with major improvements on the Ootan Road.”