The Palaszczuk government will build an inland freight highway from Charters Towers to Mungindi, if re-elected this upcoming election.
Labor promised the 'Second Bruce Highway' plan would take freight off the existing Bruce Highway, making it safer for communities and effectively reducing travel times, creating more jobs and increasing economic activity.
Touring the $514 million Bruce Highway upgrade at the Haughton River south of Townsville, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said 33 projects were underway on the main coastal highway.
"If re-elected, my government will continue to increase the annual investment in Bruce Highway upgrades to almost $2 billion by 2023," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"We'll also build on our existing $125 million partnership with the federal government to improve the inland Townsville to Roma corridor by committing $200 million for the 'Second Bruce' to take trucks off the Bruce Highway."
The plan also commits to building on the existing $12.6 billion jointly-funded Bruce Highway partnership with the federal government supporting 2500 jobs, with an additional $500 million for priority upgrades between Proserpine and Gladstone.
Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said Labor would set a target to reduce fatalities by 60 per cent by 2030.
"As a former paramedic, I've seen firsthand the devastating impact road crashes can have over many years on families," Mr Harper said.
Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said Labor would commit $200 million to inland road and bridge upgrades between Townsville and Roma to support freight moving on the 'Second Bruce'.
"Encouraging trucks to head inland means less trucks heading through local communities along the highway, from Gympie to Townsville," Mr Stewart said.
"Transport industry modelling has estimated trucks travelling between Far North Queensland and Melbourne on upgraded inland highways could save up to five hours on a single one-way trip."
Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said the Australian government had an existing $10 billion commitment to the existing Bruce Highway, which was already allocated to projects and upgrades.
"It is up to the Premier to explain which part of the existing Bruce Highway she wants to rip money from to fund today's half-baked announcement," Ms Landry said.
"The federal government has already committed $10 billion to the existing Bruce Highway."
Bruce Highway to be four lanes under LNP government
This announcement follows the LNP's ambitious plan for the entire Bruce Highway to become four lanes.
LNP leader Deb Frecklington said the massive $33 billion construction project would create 100,000 jobs over 15 years and supercharge coastal economies.
"Four-laning the Bruce Highway will create the jobs we need right now, but it will also benefit Queensland for generations to come," Mrs Frecklington said.
"Major economic arterials like the Bruce Highway connect farmers on the Tablelands with customers in Brisbane and beyond.
"Agriculture, like other industries, relies on world class infrastructure to be sustainable and grow."
LNP Transport spokesman Steve Minnikin said trucks weren't the problem, but rather Labor's failing to invest in the existing Bruce Highway.
"This is another pie-in-the-sky desperate promise from Labor, which has failed to fix safety and congestion issues on the first Bruce Highway," Mr Minnikin said.
Currently, the Bruce Highway is a two-lane road for 1470km of its total 1650km length.
The story Qld Labor pledges to build 'Second Bruce' inland freight route first appeared on Queensland Country Life.