Ipswich City Council has spent more than $600 million on major road projects in the past decade – including road and bridge maintenance, road upgrades and road safety improvements – as it prepares for many more people and vehicles in years to come.
Interim Administrator Greg Chemello recently released the 2019-20 budget and it revealed $63.2 million in projected spending on the region’s road network in the next financial year.
The 2019-20 Budget at a Glance document showed the following commitments by council:
- $29.2m for road and bridge maintenance
- $34.0m for road upgrades and road safety improvements
The combined $63.2 million is a significant boost in the budget from the past two years.
Mr Chemello said the council’s budget prioritised the important needs of the city.
“It allocates money to projects which will enable council to get the job done and to ensure the city is meeting demands imposed upon us all by rapid growth,” he said.
Mr Chemello acknowledged that Ipswich is one of the fastest growing councils in Australia. The city ranked near the top in Queensland in terms of growth and in the top 10 nationally.
Ipswich is projected to be the home of 480,000 people by 2036. In addition, about two million visitors come to Ipswich each year.
He said good roads, an improved public transport system and public infrastructure, economic prosperity and jobs are important components which help the city provide for its constituents.
Despite some community commentary, Mr Chemello noted that council’s roadworks funding was much the same in average spend over recent years – and more than the last two years.
“Your council has budgeted to achieve that, plus a $111 million spend on the Nicholas Street redevelopment and Ipswich Central, plus having the lowest rates increase for many years,” he said.
Council increased its rates in the 2019-20 budget by just 1.4 per cent, below current CPI (and other SEQ councils), and effectively increasing total rates and charges for residential properties by just 35 cents per week.
Roads are always a key component of a council budget, and for the City of Ipswich in 2019-20 it is about residual funding to finish major projects already underway.
Some of the major projects and initiatives that will be undertaken as part of council’s record $606.1 million budget ($242.6 million in capital works) include:
- $3.6 million to complete the realignment of Marsden Parade to link with Gordon Street
- $2.6 million to complete the safety upgrade along Brisbane Street between Hooper Street and Burnett Street.
- $3.8 million to complete the upgrade of Old Toowoomba Road
- $4.4 million to commence Redbank Plains Road upgrade between Keidges Road and Kruger Parade
- $3.2 million for traffic signals at the intersections of Grange and Robertson Roads and Salisbury and Briggs Roads
- $10.2 million for road safety and sustainable travel projects including bikeways.
“Your council is delivering some critical pieces of road infrastructure along key corridors for the city,” Mr Chemello said.
“Traffic delays over coming months are unfortunately unavoidable. The end result for motorists will be worth it. When completed these projects will boost safety and traffic capacity.”
Mr Chemello said it was vital for council to significantly improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists as the region’s road network expanded in all directions.