Rockhampton Regional Council in the Australian state of Queensland is set to break ground on an A$6.5m ($4.5m) upgrade of Thirsty Creek Road as part of A$352m ($243m) Rookwood Weir project on the Fitzroy River, 60km south-west of Rockhampton.

The Rockwood Weir project will have the capacity to supply 76,000 megalitres of water per annum for agriculture, industries and urban areas in central Queensland.

Minister for Natural Resources Anthony Lynham said that the council received a request to take up the work on the Thirsty Creek Road upgrade.

He said: “This is a milestone that member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke and member for Keppel Brittany Lauga and their constituents have been looking forward to.”

The Thirsty Creek Road upgrade will involve the widening of a 16.2km section of the road to accommodate heavy earthmoving vehicles for the construction of the weir.

O’Rourke said that this is a long-term project that is paying off now with work for local people.

According to Lauga, the Rookwood Weir project will create jobs over the next couple of years in addition to the water required by central Queensland for security and agricultural business expansion.

Lynham said that the Rockhampton Council and state government-owned Sunwater are expected to sign a contract next month to commence work on the road upgrade as early as possible.

He said that a contract for the weir would be released later this year and is expected to be awarded in 2020.

Lynham said that Sunwater is keen on speaking to potential customers for the water that Rookwood will deliver.

Last week, Sunwater chief executive officer Nicole Hollows told a Parliamentary Estimates Committee that the final design for the road upgrade and bridges and 85% of the design for the weir had been completed.

The bridges will enable increased flood immunity and reliability of access across the Fitzroy River.