Problem to be addressed
The section of the Bruce Highway between Edmonton and Gordonvale is congested during morning and evening peaks, and has a high crash rate. Increasing industry diversification, densification of the CBD, and urban expansion in southern Cairns is forecast to grow traffic beyond the reliable capacity of the highway. Without intervention, this traffic growth would lead to severe congestion and poorer safety conditions on the road.
The project aims to ease capacity constraints by creating a four-lane highway (two lanes in each direction) between Edmonton and Gordonvale and would significantly reduce interfaces with properties, the North Coast line and arterial roads. New service roads would draw local traffic away from the highway, reducing travel times and improving amenity for the local residents of Mount Peter and Gordonvale.
Economic, social and environmental value
The largest benefit of the project is travel time savings for road users. The project would also improve safety on the road, resulting in crash cost savings. Infrastructure Australia considers that there is strategic merit in upgrading this part of the National Land Transport Network to improve accessibility for Cairns’ local communities, regional traffic, tourism and freight. The proponent’s stated benefit-cost ratio is 1.14, with a net present value of $49.3 million (7% real discount rate).