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The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing (also referred to as the Toowoomba Bypass) is a 41 km (25 mi) grade separated, dual carriageway bypass and partial ring road constructed to the north and west of Toowoomba, Queensland. Construction commenced in April, 2016. It opened to traffic on the evening of Sunday, 8 September 2019.

Toowoomba Second Range Crossing

Toowoomba-bypass-0020a.jpg
The Second Range Road, looking east from Cranley.
General information
TypeHighway
Length41 km (25 mi)
Opened8 September 2019
Route number(s)
Ring road aroundToowoomba
Major junctions
Northeast end Warrego Highway (National Highway A2), Helidon Spa
 
  • Mort Street, Cranley
  • Boundary Street, Cranley
  • Warrego Highway (National Highway A2)
Southwest end Gore Highway (National Highway A39 / State Route 85), Athol
Location(s)
Major settlementsPostmans Ridge, Withcott, Mount Kynoch, Cranley, Charlton, Wellcamp, Athol
Highway system

Contents

HistoryEdit

The city of Toowoomba is situated on a plateau on the edge of the Great Dividing Range. A defining characteristic of the city is its high position on an escarpment of the range, which enjoys sweeping views of the Lockyer Valley below.[1] The existing range road was completed in its current alignment in 1939. This road has unfavourable road geometry including tight corners and a rate of climb as high as 10.5%.[1] The Warrego Highway is a major Brisbane-Darwin highway that passes through Toowoomba and utilises the existing range road. The Gore Highway is a major freight corridor that travels from Melbourne (via the Newell Highway and the Goulburn Valley Highway) and terminates in Toowoomba. At present, up to 22,000 vehicles (including 2900 heavy vehicles) traverse the city's CBD each day, passing through up to 18 sets of traffic lights.[2]

PlanningEdit

The need for a future second range crossing was first highlighted by Department of Transport and Main Roads in 1991.[1] In 1995, An Ove Arup Traffic Planning Study was completed confirming the need for a second range crossing.[1] In 1997, an alignment route option passing to the immediate north of Toowoomba City was identified in a Maunsell concept phase planning report. The traffic planning study determined that the bypass route has to be close to the city as 85 percent of Warrego Highway traffic is stopping in Toowoomba.[1] The proposed new alignment for the Warrego Highway commenced to the east, bypassing the Toowoomba City centre to the north and linking up to the Warrego and Gore Highways on the western side of Toowoomba.[1] The proposed alignment was 42.2 km long; up to 40 bridge structures; 5 major interchanges; and twin 735 meter long three lane tunnels through the range crest.[1] Detailed planning of the project commenced in 2001 with the preferred alignment option ultimately refined by 2004.[1] In late 2005, the federal government announced funding of $10 million to advance the business case for the project.[1] Auslink committed $43 million towards further planning in 2008.[3][4]

ConstructionEdit

In August, 2015 the Department of Transport & Main Roads awarded the contract to design, construct, and maintain the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing to Nexus Infrastructure, a consortium of the Plenary Group, Cintra, Acciona, Ferrovial and Broadspectrum.[2][5][6][7] Nexus was chosen for its design that employed the use of a viaduct over the Toowoomba range (instead of tunnels) allowing the use of dangerous goods to utilise the bypass.[2] The Federal and Queensland governments are jointly funding the $1.6 billion project on an 80:20 basis. It is being delivered in a 25-year public–private partnership with the Nexus Infrastructure consortium. Upon completion, the road will be tolled.[2]

MilestonesEdit

 
New England Hwy overpass (John French VC Bridge)
 
The viaduct is a key feature of the new motorway
  • 31 January 2014 - Federal and state governments agreed to underwrite $1.6 billion to build a tunnel[8]
  • 21 August 2015 - The Nexus Infrastructure consortium awarded to finance, build, operate and maintain the motorway.[5][2]
  • 15 April 2016 - Start of major construction
  • 8 December 2018 - Western section of the crossing, between Mort Street (Cranley) and the Gore Highway (Athol), opened to traffic [9]
  • Late 2018 - Scheduled completion. Originally scheduled for late 2018, but geological issues on embankment 24 set back expected completion by 4 to 7 months.[10]
  • 7 September 2019 - Community Events including an open day featuring a walk on the viaduct, a 73km bike ride and a 42km marathon.[11]
  • 8 September 2019 - Formal Opening Ceremony. Opening to traffic starting from 6pm. 3 month toll free period begins.

BenefitsEdit

The benefits of the new road to road users and the community, as claimed by the Queensland Government, include:[12]

  • Avoids up to 18 sets of traffic lights in Toowoomba
  • Reduces travel time (by up to 40 minutes) and greater travel time reliability
  • Improved freight efficiency by redirecting up to 80% of heavy and super heavy commercial vehicles away from the Toowoomba central business district
  • Reduction in vehicle operating costs by ensuring a maximum slope gradient of 6.5% across the Toowoomba Range, a significant decrease from the existing range crossing which is up to 10%
  • Accommodate regional growth and increase productivity on the Darling Downs
  • Safer and less congested route than the existing range crossing

Route descriptionEdit

The Bypass commences just west of Postman Ridge Road on the Warrego Highway. It deviates north-west passing up the range at a maximum gradient of 6%. After travelling for approximately 6 km the road passes over an 800-meter viaduct and then through a 30-meter cutting, passing under the New England Highway at the top of the range.[5] From there it travels in a general South west direction reconnecting with the Warrego Highway at Charlton and ultimately connecting with Gore Highway at Athol. The bypass will feature 24 bridges, six interchanges and nine creek crossing.[13] The posted speed limit will be 100 kilometres per hour for its entirety except between the western entrance to the Warrego Highway and Mort Street where it will be 90.[14] The speed limit will be enforced by point to point speed cameras.[15]

TollsEdit

 
Toll Gantry on Toowoomba Second Range Crossing. Taken on Community Open Day

The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing will be a Toll road. There is one toll point located just east of the Mort Street Interchange, it is a free-flow system requiring an electronic toll tag (e-TAG). It is mandatory for heavy vehicles to use the toll road unless they have a destination in Toowoomba or Warwick.[16]

Vehicle Toll
Motorcycles $1.15
Cars $2.30
Light Trucks $5.70
Heavy Trucks $22.85


 
Map showing route in yellow

ExitsEdit

Location[17]km[citation needed]miDestinationsNotes
Helidon Spa0.00.0  Warrego Highway (A2) – BrisbaneNo entry from Warrego Highway eastbound and no exit to Warrego Highway westbound (except via a new U-turn facility on the Warrego Highway)
Postmans Ridge3.82.4Murphys Creek Road bridge over TSRCNo entry or exit
Withcott8.75.4Gittens RoadNo entry or exit
Mount Kynoch16.8810.49East end of cutting
17.5810.92West end of cutting
18.611.6  New England Highway (A3)No entry or exit
Cranley19.512.1Mort Street[18]Entry and exit both eastbound and westbound. Bridge over Mort Street.
Boundary Street bridge over TSRC.Eastbound entry to and westbound exit from TSRC
Charlton27.7517.24  Warrego Highway (A2)All entry and exit options available
Wellcamp31.619.6Toowoomba-Cecil Plains Road - east - Toowoomba /
west - Cecil Plains, Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport
All entry and exit options available
Athol40.9525.45  Gore Highway (A39) westbound flyover
4327  Gore Highway (A39)No entry from Gore Highway westbound
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Toowoomba Bypass - RANGE CROSSING WITH TUNNELS" (PDF). Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Toowoomba Second Range Crossing". Queensland Treasury. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  3. ^ "Empire Theatre". Toowoombarc.qld.gov.au. Archived from the original on 19 February 2011. Retrieved 27 July 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ "Abbott commits to Toowoomba bypass". News.smh.com.au. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  5. ^ a b c Truss, Warren (3 July 2015). "Toowoomba Second Range Crossing preferred tenderer announced". Media Release (WT200/2015). Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  6. ^ About Nexus Toowoomba Second Range Crossing
  7. ^ Nexus Consortium selected as preferred tenderer for Toowoomba Second Range Crossing Broadspectrum 6 July 2015
  8. ^ Department of the Premier and Cabinet (31 January 2014). "Start for Toowoomba Second Range crossing project". Media Statements. The State of Queensland.
  9. ^ "Opening of the western section of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing". Nexus Infrastructure. 8 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Jurassic problem on Toowoomba Second Range Crossing".
  11. ^ Department of Transport and Main Roads; jurisdiction=Queensland; (5 August 2019). "Toowoomba Second Range Crossing". www.tmr.qld.gov.au. Retrieved 13 August 2019.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ Queensland Treasury and Trade (28 January 2014). "Toowoomba Second Range Crossing - Project Fact Sheet" (PDF). Projects Queensland. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 November 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  13. ^ Main Roads (1 November 2013). "EPBC Referral Form" (PDF). Technical information. The State of Queensland (Queensland Treasury and Trade). Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  14. ^ Projects Queensland (4 June 2014). "Toowoomba Second Range Crossing: Expression of Interest" (pdf). Expression of Interest. Queensland Government and Australian Government.
  15. ^ "Point-to-point speed cameras to be installed on three major SEQ roads". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  16. ^ "Toowoomba Second Range Crossing - Tolling". State of Queensland (Department of Transport and Main Roads). 15 August 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  17. ^ "Toowoomba Second Range Crossing". Department of Transport and Main Roads. 27 July 2017. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  18. ^ "Mort Street interchange". Nexus Infrastructure. Retrieved 29 October 2017.

External linksEdit