Queensland has one of the longest coastlines in Australia. It is also where most of the population live, with cities and vital infrastructure all clustered along the shore.
While this reflects the importance of seaside living for Queenslanders, it is not without risks. Flooding and storm damage can easily affect these coastal communities, putting lives at risk and cutting communication routes.
While flood mitigation works increase across the state, one piece of infrastructure in particular has been targeted for renewal – the Bruce Highway.
The campaign – give the catchy title of “Spruce the Bruce” by the Queensland government, aims to upgrade large parts of the 1,700km roadway which connects Brisbane with Cairns. The upgrades are made up of roughly 200 smaller projects along this route.
This new initiative is part of a total infrastructure package for Queensland which is spread over the next ten years. The federal government has agreed to contribute 80 per cent of the costs associated with this work, matching the 20 per cent provided by the state government.
In total, this represents an $8.5 billion investment into the state’s infrastructure over the next decade, with $6.8 billion coming from the federal government.
Projects will be staggered to avoid excessive delays along the route. Common developments which are being undertaken include expanded overtaking lanes, new bridges and bypasses where necessary.
These upgrades will have a number of benefits, beyond the possibility for new flood protection. Improvements to the Bruce Highway are also expected to save the lives of 300-400 motorists over the next ten years, thanks to the improved road conditions and overtaking lanes along this route.
As the upgrades for the Bruce Highway begin, there will likely be a range of different skills required in order to keep the different projects running smoothly. Work in civil construction will often involve an apprenticeship or traineeship, depending on the specific area you want to work in.
Even once the Spruce the Bruce project is completed, there are still other initiatives planned for the state. Although currently at the planning and feasibility stage, the state government has expressed a wish to pursue a second road corridor through inland Queensland.
This project would run parallel to the Bruce Highway but on the other side of the Great Dividing Range. Providing an alternative transport route would add another layer of protection to the state’s flood resilience, which currently relies heavily on the coastal route.
With upgrades already being undertaken and new initiatives in the pipeline, the future looks good for people looking for apprenticeships in Queensland.