Queensland inland freight route capacity and safety

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Queensland inland freight route capacity and safety

Capacity and safety improvements
Early-stage proposal (Stage 1)
Small towns, rural communities and remote areas
Regional Connectivity
Problem/Opportunity timeframe
Longer term (10-15 years)
Proposed By
Queensland Government
Date added to the IPL
07 April 2020
graphic of a map


Queensland’s Inland Freight Route, from Mungindi (at the New South Wales border) to Charter Towers in North Queensland is nearing capacity in some sections. In the long term, this route will struggle to meet the needs of the growing freight task, such as more frequent and heavier loads.

The 1,184 km Inland Freight Route is an important alternative north–south route to the Bruce Highway and North Coast rail line. It forms part of the Australian Government’s Key Freight Network.

Many sections of the corridor have aged pavement, narrow seal widths and flooding vulnerabilities. This reduces the efficiency, productivity and safety of the route. There are also several bridges along the route that constrain the types of heavy vehicles that can be used.

The Infrastructure Priority List also includes a broader proposal for an Inland Queensland road network upgrade, which includes the Inland Freight Route.


The proposal aims to improve the productive capacity and safety of the Inland Freight Route, enhancing its role as an alternative to the Bruce Highway. This proposal could be addressed through:

  • improving pavement condition
  • implementing safety measures, such as increasing centrelines and road shoulders
  • upgrading the road and bridge standards to support higher-mass and higher-productivity vehicles
  • constructing additional lanes for some sections
  • upgrading infrastructure for flood immunity.

Next steps

Proponent to develop potential investment options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).