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2 June, 2021

Tablelanders awaiting planning study findings

THE State Government’s much awaited planning study initiated to identify and investigate the pressing requirements of road users between Cairns and the Northern Tablelands is expected to be completed in the coming months.

By Michael Warren

The State Government's study around Tablelanders' future road needs is soon to be finalised.

THE State Government’s much awaited planning study initiated to identify and investigate the pressing requirements of road users between Cairns and the Northern Tablelands is expected to be completed in the coming months.

Tablelanders across the region have been eagerly waiting to digest the findings of the $1.6M study, with many keen to see if it delivers a key recommendation that a new dual lane highway should be constructed between Mareeba and Cairns. 

“Transport and Main Roads is finalising its planning study to investigate capacity, safety and efficiency improvements of transport routes between Cairns and the Northern Tablelands, including the Bridle Track (Kuranda bypass road),” Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey MP told Hill MP Shane Knuth in recent written correspondence. 

“The purpose of the project is to review previous planning and determine the most appropriate focus for future planning activities. “Once the project is completely finalised, TMR will have a better understanding of the best way to improve access between Cairns and the Northern Tablelands.” 

Meanwhile, the Kuranda bypass road steering committee were expected to put forward a resolution at a schedule meeting last night to instruct local State and Federal members to seek funds to construct the bypass road. 

Lastly, the mess surrounding the ongoing future of the Barron River crossing shows no sign of ending anytime soon. The State’s $2.1M investigation announced back in March to finally determine whether the aging structure should be replaced or rehabilitated is only expected to get underway in the coming months. 

“Construction of any solutions identified through this planning remains unfunded,” Mr Bailey revealed to Mr Knuth. The bridge’s future has been a continued point of contention around the Tablelands with road users experiencing endless delays and ongoing frustration since TMR introduced traffic lights at either end and reduced the structure to a single lane only at the back end of last year. 

Mr Bailey confirmed that TMR expects the “changed traffic conditions to remain in place (on the bridge) until October, while investigations, testing and repairs are carried out.”  


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