FIFTY extra overtaking lanes will be built on Queensland's main highway under a new state government plan.
Local Government Minister Paul Lucas launched the 20-year Bruce Highway upgrade today, saying the ultimate goal was for the highway to be four lanes wide between Cairns and Gympie - a distance of about 1500km.
Mr Lucas says the plan, which implements strategies for the highway until 2031, is vital for Australia's most decentralised state.
The minister said after receiving community feedback, the government decided to prioritise 110 projects along the length of the highway, including the extra 50 overtaking lanes.
Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace said more than 450 Queenslanders attended forums during the consultation period.
"We've heard from mums and dads in Cairns, truckies in Townsville and tourist operators in the Whitsunday region, and their valuable feedback has helped shape our final plan," he said.
However, opposition main roads spokesman Mark Robinson says the government has had 20 years to fix the highway and is now making promises on the eve of an election.
Mr Robinson says the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland's (RACQ) independent regional roads inspection tour report shows motorists face further flooding, high crash risks and congestion along the highway.
"RACQ road engineers note the disaster relief funding has provided an opportunity to reconstruct the highway, but the funding doesn't allow for the raising of the road, meaning parts of the highway are still likely to be cut or flood damaged again," he said.