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10 June, 2021

Pressure for new bypass

CONSTRUCTION of a new dual lane highway between Mareeba and Cairns would begin by the end of November if the State and Federal Governments seriously agreed to act upon a resolution put forward by the Kuranda Bypass steering committee.

By Michael Warren

At the public meeting on Tuesday, June 1 at the Mareeba Turf Club the bypass road steering committee pressed Government to start construction of the new road by November this year. Pictured at the meeting is Simon Tuxworth, Hill MP Shane Knuth, Bill Cummings and Ken Harley..

CONSTRUCTION of a new dual lane highway between Mareeba and Cairns would begin by the end of November if the State and Federal Governments seriously agreed to act upon a resolution put forward by the Kuranda Bypass steering committee. 

In a packed public meeting 153 attendees unanimously agreed with the committee’s resolution that “this meeting requests the construction of a new access road to Cairns from the Tablelands.” 

In addition, it noted “this meeting instructs the Queensland State Government to investigate and begin construction of an adequate road access between Mareeba and Cairns that bypasses Kuranda Road Range by November 30, 2021.”

 Steering committee chairman Ken Harley said the resolution would now be issued to Cook MP Cynthia Lui, and Hill MP Shane Knuth to be tabled at a State level, while Kennedy MP Bob Katter and Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch will be asked to secure Federal funding for the project. 

The Bypass committee claims that the new road would take motorists a mere 30 minutes to drive the 19km stretch of road between Mareeba and Cairns. 

While a lot of Tablelanders are keen for the highway to be built, community reaction in Redlynch has been significant with many residents firmly opposed to any potential bypass road being constructed in their suburb. 

Cairns Regional Council division six councilor Kristy Vallely is one Redlynch local who does not support the project. “I do not support a road coming directly from Mareeba to Redlynch,” Ms Vallely publicly declared after the meeting. 

“Secondly Transport and Main Roads are spending $1.6M on exploring many options, one being the Mareeba to Redlynch option, one being a tunnel, there’s many other options on the table, that’s why they’re spending the money, to explore all options. 

“I did share my views on the matter, and I did share the residents’ views on the matter.” 

Steering committee chairman Ken Harley suggested the creation of the road would have minimal impact, wherever it is finally best determined to enter Cairns. 

“There is no intent nor are there any plans or discussions to resume or obtain any homes (in Redlynch)… there is no need,” he explained. “The plan involves a high level bridge with associated noise suppression over the intake road, Freshwater creek and associated flood plain. 

“A route has been identified from the Freshwater creek, crossing to the Cairns Western Arterial Road.” 

Cook MP Cynthia Lui was approached for comment, but respectfully declined to delve into specifics about the bypass road until TMR releases the findings of its current $1.6M investigation into a range of Tablelands road matters including the determination of whether there is a concrete need for the dual carriageway to be constructed. 

Redlynch residents will get the opportunity to discuss their thoughts about the bypass road in Cairns on June 28.

 Meanwhile, Shadow Minister for Transport and Main Roads Steve Minnikin MP declared the Barron River bridge “structurally unsafe” during a recent trip to Far North Queensland. 

Mr Minnikin put Minister for Transport and Roads Mark Bailey MP on notice instructing him to “get on to the source of the problem, find out what needs to be done (with the bridge), and simply get on and do it”. 

“They need to make this bridge one of the highest priorities in the state.” 


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