The Governments of Australia and Queensland have awarded the design and build contract to the Georgiou AECOM consortium for the A$230m ($167m) Townsville Ring Road Stage 5 project and Townsville Northern Access Intersections Upgrade project.

The contract for the Stage 5 project marks the start of early works on the A$107.7m ($78.5m) Bruce Highway, while the Townsville project is part of a A$1.5bn ($1.09bn) joint-commitment to roads in North Queensland and is expected to create 1,400 jobs.

Construction works are expected to begin by mid next year and slated for completion in early 2023, weather and construction conditions permitting.

The project is jointly funded. The Australian government has agreed to provide A$184m ($134m) while Queensland government committed to provide A$46m ($33.5m).

Australia Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said: “The Townsville Northern Access Intersections Upgrade project will duplicate 5.2km of the Bruce Highway, including a new bridge over Black River, while the Stage 5 project will complete the four-laning of the 22km Townsville Ring Road.

“These projects are part of our A$100bn ($72.9bn), ten-year infrastructure pipeline which will support our economy by creating jobs in North Queensland as we recover from Covid-19.”

McCormack further added that the two projects are on track to begin next year.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that ten road upgrades that will be executed across North Queensland are part of the state government’s A$50bn ($36.4bn) plan to invest in large infrastructure projects.

Palaszczuk added:  “Covid-19 has impacted economies around the world but because Queenslanders have rallied to fight this global pandemic, we’re able to get on with the job of delivering Queensland’s economic plan.”