Infrastructure Australia (IA) has approved more than A$2bn ($1.4bn) of planned upgrades to the Bruce Highway and M1 Pacific Motorway in Queensland.

With IA’s approval, these two significant projects have been placed on the Infrastructure Priority List.

The list features nationally significant infrastructure investments Australia needs over the next 15 years.

The latest development comes after IA approved business cases for three Queensland projects, which are Bruce Highway Cairns Southern Access Corridor – Stage 3 (Edmonton to Gordonvale), M1 Pacific Motorway (Eight Mile Plains to Daisy Hill), and M1 Pacific Motorway (Varsity Lakes to Tugun).

Under the M1 Eight Mile Plains to Daisy Hill project, upgrades will improve one of the busiest sections of the motorway.

According to an estimate, almost 150,000 vehicles would pass through this section of M1 daily. The traffic volume is likely to surge to 202,000 vehicles a day by 2041.

The project will widen an 8.5km northbound section of the road between the Gateway Motorway at Eight Mile Plains and Paradise Road at Daisy Hill.

Also, the project will extend the South East Busway to the Springwood bus station.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said: “The Infrastructure Priority List will now include the Bruce Highway-Edmonton to Gordonvale project, and the M1 Pacific Motorway-Eight Mile Plains to Daisy Hill and Varsity Lakes to Tugun upgrades, as priority projects.

“In line with IA’s assessment, we are backing the Cairns region by investing in a four-lane upgrade to the Bruce Highway and service roads between Edmonton and Gordonvale which will bust congestion, reduce local trips taken on the Bruce Highway and tackle the section’s high crash rate of almost double the state average for similar roads.

“The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government has committed up to A$384.8m to this important project, and we are working closely with the Queensland Government to ensure that our combined investment will deliver on the project’s key objectives of improving safety and access.”

Construction on new projects along with the M1 Pacific Motorway is likely to start in mid-2020.