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Upgrades between James Street and Airport Avenue have been identified as stage one early works for the $359 million Captain Cook Highway project.

The $359 million Captain Cook Highway project is jointly funded with the Australian Government committing $287.2 million and the Queensland Government committing $71.8 million.

The Australian Government recently added the Captain Cook Highway from Cairns CBD to Smithfield to the National Land Transport Network recognising the critical importance of the road in providing a connection to the Cairns Airport and supporting freight movements across Far North Queensland.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said staging the project meant motorists will be able to realise the benefits of this major infrastructure investment in Cairns and Far North Queensland sooner.

“Planning is underway for the James Street and Airport Avenue section, focusing on capacity improvements, with detailed design to begin soon,” Mr McCormack said.

“It is anticipated construction on the first stage of works will start by mid-2021.

“We are continuing to roll out this type of major project nationwide under our $100 billion infrastructure investment pipeline which is supporting local jobs and communities at a time when it’s needed most.”

Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the accelerated works program would create more job opportunities in Cairns’ record road investment program.

“When these works start next year, we’ll have three major road projects collectively worth more than $1 billion underway across Cairns at the same time, employing hundreds of workers,” Mr Bailey said.

“Right now, major Queensland cities like Cairns need a reliable supply of projects to support workers and local businesses over the next few years.

“The $359 million Cairns Ring Road project and the almost 400 jobs it will support is a critical part of that.”

Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the Captain Cook Highway project was crucial to enabling improved connectivity in the region for industry, businesses as well as locals and tourists.

He said once planning for the accelerated works program from James Street to Airport Avenue was completed, work would continue to progress master planning for the entire route between the Cairns CBD and Smithfield.

“It will be fantastic to finally see shovels in the ground on this much-needed project because that means local jobs which are very important in the current environment,” Mr Entsch said.

“This capacity-boosting project will address the significant congestion on the Captain Cook Highway that constrains access to the Cairns Port and Cairns Airport.

“It will also significantly improve access between centres and reduced travel times for thousands of daily motorists.

“Not only will this project drive jobs and boost the local economy but more importantly it will improve road safety for all users.

“This project builds on the Australian Government’s investment in major infrastructure projects in the Far North, including more than $840 million to upgrade the Cairns Southern Access Corridor.”

State Cairns MP Michael Healy encouraged people to have their say by filling out a survey online or contacting the project team with their feedback.

“Nobody knows the Captain Cook Highway like the 45,000 commuters, business owners, transport operators and tour operators who drive it every day,” Mr Healy said.

“That’s why we want the community to provide feedback on the planning for the Cairns Ring Road project.”

The Get Involved Survey will be open to the public online from Monday, 3 August to Friday, 4 September 2020.

A link to the survey can be found here.

For further information or to provide feedback, contact the Far North District Office at cairns_ring_road@tmr.qld.gov.au or on 4045 7328.