Torrens Creek-Aramac Road freight route to be fully sealed before Christmas | Ralph-Lauren

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A vital link between western and northern Queensland will be sealed for all-weather access by Christmas, with work set to begin on February 1.

Flinders Shire Council will lay bitumen on the final 27-kilometre section of the 270km Torrens Creek-Aramac Road, as well as construct a floodway across Prairie Creek.

During the wet season the unsealed road can often be impassable, adding hours to travel time.

The present sealed route to Townsville from the central-western towns of Longreach, Barcaldine, and Blackall runs through Winton or via the Gregory Developmental Road.

Mayor Jane McNamara said the upgrade would make it easier for people in western regions to travel north.

“They’re closer to Townsville than Rockhampton or Mackay. It’s giving them a choice of a different business centre too.”

A red car has been washed into rushing flood waters on the Torrens Creek - Aramac Road in western Queensland
This car was washed into flood waters along the Torrens Creek-Aramac Road in 2009.(Supplied: John Jones)

The Commonwealth provided $24 million for both pieces of road work through its Roads of Strategic Importance grant, with Queensland contributing $6 million.

Cr McNamara said receiving the grant to complete the long-running project was a momentous occasion for the community.

“I never thought I would ever sit here and say we had all the funding,” she said.

Director of Engineering at the Flinders Shire, Hari Bopuddi stands next to Mayor Jane McNamara
Flinders shire director of engineering Hari Bopuddi, left, with Mayor Jane McNamara.(ABC Rural: Tom Major)

“The projects will be running concurrently … and, weather permitting, it will be finished by Christmas 2021.

“We’ll have our concrete gangs and also the road gang down there from the council so it’s significant employment for our council, plus contractors who’ll be assisting us.”

Two workers’ camps will be established for teams working on the dual projects.

Upgrades ‘long overdue’

John Rogers, vice-president of the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Queensland, travels from Townsville to Longreach on the Torrens Creek-Aramac Road regularly and said the upgrades were “well and truly” overdue.

“It can be good today, then this time tomorrow you come back across it and you wouldn’t know you’re on the same road.

“Prairie Creek is another saga on it’s own. It’s one of the worst crossings I’ve ever seen.”

A low river crossing on a rural road
The Prairie Creek crossing on the Torrens Creek-Aramac Road.(Supplied: Flinders Shire Council)

He said the upgrade is essential to ensure traffic can flow freely along the road which is the shortest route from north to south than any other route in the same direction.

“It’ll be huge,” Mr Rogers said.

“It can be used for the majority of the year. Especially this time of year, it’s very unpredictable.”

When the upgrades are completed at the end of the year, Mr Rogers expected the small town of Aramac to see the benefits of a fully sealed, all weather road.

“I think for a little place like Aramac it will make a massive difference to the traffic flow through there,” he said.

“It’d be good for the town.”

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