At the start of the year, the Australian Government announced a $35.5 billion commitment to deliver Australia's biggest infrastructure agenda.
Investment into transport infrastructure has far-reaching, multiplier effects on the local and general economy.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss introduced the Land Transport Infrastructure Amendment Bill, which maps out the Government's infrastructure priorities.
“We are moving to deliver the infrastructure Australia critically needs through our $35.5 billion Infrastructure Investment Programme, which, over six years, will build the vital road and rail projects to improve efficiency, boost productivity and drive Australia's economy forward," said Mr Truss.
Government investment into new roads, road upgrades and rail projects will stimulate economic growth and open regions for new residential and industrial development.
The Government has also committed $300 million to finalise plans, engineering design and environmental assessments for the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project.
The Bill also reflects the Government's commitment to the Roads to Recovery Programme, locking in its future for a further five years (beyond the current end date of 30 June 2014 to 30 June 2019), with $1.75 billion of funding.
“Further, the Government has committed $300 million to the Black Spot Programme addressing road sites that are high risk areas for serious crashes, in addition to our new $300 million Bridges Renewal programme to restore dilapidated local bridges.
“Australia's future growth and prosperity will be significantly influenced by our capacity to deliver more appropriate, efficient and effective infrastructure,” he said.
Here we look at the major projects under the Infrastructure Investment Programme that will drive development in Australia.
The Fix the Bruce Highway Policy includes funding for the on-going Bruce Highway projects plus 45 new projects that involve major upgrade works and realignments, strengthening and widening of roads, plus a range of safety and efficiency measures to target crash black spots and to provide additional overtaking lanes and rest areas.
$5.6 billion to finish the duplication of the Pacific Highway
The government has committed $5.6 billion to complete the duplication of the Pacific Highway from Hexham to the Queensland border by the end of the decade.
Upgrading new sections and undertaking safety improvements to the existing highway have brought major improvements to road conditions.
These improvements will support regional development and provide improved amenity for local communities.
Currently 381 kilometres of the Pacific Highway between Hexham and the Queensland border are now four-lane divided road. Around 50 kilometres are currently under construction.
The Pacific Highway upgrade is being completed in three key priority stages.
$1.5 billion to the WestConnex project in Sydney
WestConnex is one the NSW Government’s key infrastructure projects which aims to ease congestion, create jobs and connect communities.
It is the largest integrated transport and urban revitalisation project in Australia.
The 33 kilometre project was a key recommendation of the State Infrastructure Strategy released in October 2012.
It brings together a number of important road projects which together form a vital link in Sydney’s Orbital Network.
They include a widening of the M4 east of Parramatta, a duplication of the M5 East and new sections of motorway to provide a connection between the two key corridors.
Related Article: NSW Getting Serious About Infrastructure With WestConnex
The East West Link is an 18 kilometre cross-city road connection extending across Melbourne from the Eastern Freeway to the Western Ring Road.
Planning and procurement is underway for the first stage of the East West Link, a six kilometre section connecting the Eastern Freeway with CityLink.
The planning study is also considering a connection to the Port of Melbourne area.
$1 billion to continue the Gateway Motorway North upgrade in Brisbane
The government has developed the preferred plan for the upgrading of the Gateway Motorway between Nudgee and Bracken Ridge.
The proposed upgrade aims to benefit the community by improving motorist safety, reducing congestion and accommodating for future traffic growth.
Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss and Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister, Scott Emerson jointly released the preferred plan for the project on 1 October 2013.
The department is currently undertaking preliminary work to prepare the project for the next stage.
Construction is expected to begin in late 2014.
$700 million for the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing
The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing (TSRC) is one of Queensland's highest priority infrastructure projects.
The TSRC is a bypass route to the north of Toowoomba, approximately 41 kilometres in length, running from the Warrego Highway at Helidon in the east to the Gore Highway at Athol in the west via Charlton.
The project is the largest Commonwealth Government commitment to a single regional road project in Queensland history.
$686 million to finish the Gateway WA Project in Perth
Gateway WA Perth Airport and Freight Access Project is WA’s largest ever infrastructure project, designed to improve the safety and efficiency of one of the state’s most important transport hubs.
Using innovative urban design, the Gateway WA project incorporates road and bridge improvements, local road modifications, facilities and connections for pedestrians and cyclists, noise walls, landscaping and the use of Intelligent Transport System (ITS) Technology.
The Gateway WA program for delivery has been planned in a staged approach in order to minimise disruption to the community and road users. Various early works construction packages commenced in early 2013, with the full scope of works expected to be completed by January 2017.
$615 million to build the Swan Valley Bypass on the Perth to Darwin Highway
The Government has committed $615 million to the Swan Valley Bypass north of Perth.
The project will involve the construction of a new 40 kilometre highway from the Reid Highway and Tonkin Highway intersection in Malaga to the Great Northern Highway at Muchea, with dual carriageway for 15 kilometres and single carriageway for 25 kilometres, upgrades to connecting roads and to interchanges with the existing road network.
The Government will contribute $615 million to the Swan Valley Bypass.
Construction is expected to commence in late-2016.