BYPASS OPEN: The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing project has been recognised nationally as one of the best construction projects.
BYPASS OPEN: The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing project has been recognised nationally as one of the best construction projects. Nexus

Toowoomba celebrates opening of $1.6b bypass

AFTER being a dream for more than 50 years, the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing is finally open.

"We have just opened the eighth wonder of the modern world, indeed it truly is,” Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said at the official opening yesterday.

"This is an engineering masterpiece. It's an architectural masterpiece.

"It's been brought to the public, to the nation, via Australian hard work, Australian sweat, Australian engineering ingenuity. This is a masterpiece in design.”

Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the viaduct on the 41km bypass, which will be known as the Multuggerah Viaduct, was unlike anything else in Australia.

"This viaduct here looks a lot like a viaduct somewhere in the European Alps,” Mr Bailey said.

"It doesn't look like anything in Queensland or indeed Australia.

"So, for the first time, we've seen something so astonishingly breathtaking in design and architecture. It's a great credit to everybody involved.”

Mr Bailey said the project had the backing of the heavy vehicle industry and peak motoring groups, relieving pressure on Toowoomba's roads.

"Today marks the return of James Street to the Toowoomba community, the beginning of a more efficient future for our truckies and is fantastic news for our regional economy,” Mr Bailey said.

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport and Federal Member for Wright Scott Buchholz said the completion of one of the largest road transport projects in Australia's history was a milestone for the region and would relieve pressure on local roads, enhance safety and improve productivity.

"This project will be transformational for our region, taking thousands of heavy vehicles off the range crossing, reducing travel times and enhancing the liveability of nearby residents in my community of the Lockyer Valley,” Mr Buchholz said.

Federal Member for Groom John McVeigh said the opening was an historic moment for the Toowoomba region, many decades in the making.

"Many people over many years have contributed to this very important event in our region's history. Today we celebrate that contribution and look forward with great optimism to the many benefits the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing will deliver to our community,” he said.

The $1.6 billion bypass was jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments, with the Australian Government contributing $1.137 billion and the balance funded by the Queensland Government.

Thousands of people attended a bike ride, marathon and community open day to celebrate the opening.

The Toowoomba Bypass connects the Warrego Highway at Helidon to the Gore Highway at Athol. The road is known as the Warrego Highway between Helidon and Cranley, and then the Gore Highway from there to Athol.

The old range is now known as the Toowoomba Connection Road. There will be no toll for the first three months.

Truckies pay $22.85 to use the road after that.

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