Toowoomba Second Range Crossing opening date revealed
The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing will open to motorists on September 8.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the $1.6 billion infrastructure investment project would significantly reduce travel times across the range and deliver a safer, more efficient connection to ports and markets.
"Connecting the Warrego Highway at Helidon Spa in the east to the Gore Highway at Athol in the west, the new Toowoomba Second Range Crossing will form a vital strategic link within Australia's National Freight Network and Toowoomba's emerging intermodal network," Mr McCormack said.
"Right across Australia, the Federal Government is investing to get people home to their loved ones sooner and safer."
Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the project would make life easier for residents of Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley areas.
"With trucks being redirected away from Toowoomba's central business district, pressure will be taken off local roads," Mr Bailey said.
"The opening of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing in September will be the moment that the decades of dedication and hard work from so many people to see this road built is finally achieved.
"Construction of the Second Range Crossing has already delivered huge economic benefits to Toowoomba and the Darling Downs.
"Those benefits will continue thanks to the freight efficiencies and improved road safety outcomes that come with the completion of this major project."
Federal Member for Groom John McVeigh said the Australian Government's $1.137 billion investment provided a major boost to the region's economy.
"Through a range of employment and supply chain opportunities the project has already had a major impact on the Australian economy," Dr McVeigh said.
"This is fantastic news for residents and visitors to the Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley regions and I'm looking forward to seeing the first vehicles driving through in just over a month."
The Toowoomba Road Runners group is expected to host a marathon on the crossing at some point around the official opening.
The marathon will begin under the New England Highway Arch Bridges, head down the viaduct and other parts of the crossing for 10km before looping back.
The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing has been a long time coming, with the need for the road initially raised in the 1960s.
Joint funding from the State and Federal Government was then announced in 2014, with construction on Australia's largest regional road project beginning in 2016.
The construction was plagued with issues, with several high-profile rollovers and geotechnical issues pushing back the late-2018 opening date to this year.