The Australian Government of Queensland has awarded a contract to HSA Group to construct stage three of the $481m Bruce Highway project.

Considered a major road project in Far North Queensland, HSA Group will be responsible for designing and constructing the ‘Bruce Highway – Cairns Southern Access Corridor – Stage 3: Edmonton to Gordonvale’ project.

HSA Group comprises John Holland, Seymour Whyte and AECOM.

Construction of the project, which is jointly funded by the governments of Australia and Queensland, will begin in early 2020. Work is expected to be completed by 2023.

The federal government has provided $384.8m for the project, with the Queensland Government funding the rest.

Queensland Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said: “This significant infrastructure investment in the Far North region will deliver an upgrade to an essential section of the Bruce Highway.”

“The Australian and Queensland governments are committed to bringing a more efficient and safe highway driving experience, to get you where you need to be safely and on time.”

Queensland Senator Susan McDonald said: “This project demonstrates the Australian Government’s commitment to improving safety and reducing congestion on the Bruce Highway in Northern Queensland.”

The Cairns Southern Access Corridor project features an off-road cycleway for cyclists travelling to and from Cairns CBD and the city’s southern suburbs.

Mulgrave state member Curtis Pitt said: “By providing a dedicated off-road bike riding option for commuting and recreation activity, we can support Far North Queenslanders with a safer environment that encourages people to be more active and swap their car trip for a bike ride.

“The Queensland Government has a $219m budget over four years to build new bike paths and infrastructure across Queensland, so additional projects like this will add more kilometres to our bike networks for locals and visitors to the region.”

The project is expected to support approximately 466 full-time jobs over its duration.

In June, the Queensland Government committed to providing nearly A$200m ($137.42) for the completion of the next stages of Gateway Motorway upgrade in Brisbane. The motorway upgrade is intended to cut congestion in the developing region.