Abbott Street, Townsville

Townsville Port Access Road Vision

To deliver a freight-efficient, strategic road link to the Port of Townsville that complements the natural environment, and achieves excellence and sustainability through all project phases with a high level of stakeholder support and recognition.

Stuart Bypass (Section one)

The Stuart Bypass will be a new 2.5km road linking the Flinders Highway to the Bruce Highway. The road will extend north-east from Stuart Drive, near Southwood Road, with a rail-road overpass crossing over the north coast rail line, Stuart Drive and Brookhouse Street. A new intersection will be built near Burdell and Smail Streets, including an industrial service road. There will be a new bridge over Stuart Creek. The bypass will join the EAC at the Bruce Highway south of Townsville, approximately 600m south of the Visitor Information Centre.

The Stuart Bypass will be completed in two stages:

Stage one (construction)

The first stage began in August 2008. It will see the completion of the Stuart Bypass from the Flinders Highway to the Bruce Highway and will include necessary work for the initial Stuart Drive connection.

It is anticipated that stage one of the Stuart Bypass will be completed by early 2010, weather permitting.

Stage two (ultimate)

Stage two will allow additional elements to be completed to fully integrate the Stuart Bypass with the surrounding road network including Southwood Road and McCahill Street intersections. The second stage will be funded through Transport and Main Roads’ ongoing works program.

Eastern Access Corridor (section two)

The EAC will be a new two lane 7.5 km road extending from the Bruce Highway 600m south of the Visitor Information Centre and running generally northward to the Port of Townsville.

Six new bridges will be built including, including one across the Ross River near the corner of Boundary Street and Benwell Road, South Townsville.

Initially, a two-lane road will be built. The road corridor will include provision for another two lanes in the future, as well as rail and other services such as telecommunications, power and a conveyor. Construction of the EAC began in May 2009 and is anticipated to finish in 2012.

Project Background

The Port of Townsville is one of Queensland’s largest industrial ports and is an important driver of economic growth in North Queensland. Trade through the port has increased dramatically over the past 10 years in response to increased industrial and mining development in the region. This rate of growth is expected to continue over the next 20 to 25 years, so providing adequate road and rail access to the port to support this growth is essential.

A range of possible options for road and rail access were considered in a Townsville Port Access Study completed in 1996 and an Impact Assessment Study (IAS) completed in 2000. These studies found that the existing road and rail routes could not continue to sustain the traffic to and from the port in the future. They recommended that a new ‘eastern corridor’ should be secured to provide future road and rail access to the port from the south and the west. Boundary Street could continue to provide the primary road access to the port from the north.

This option, known as the EAC, was found to be the most socially, environmentally and economically acceptable and in late 2001 the Queensland Government adopted the recommendation.

The Stuart Bypass was also considered at this time as a solution for providing a more direct access route for road freight vehicles.


After the recommendations of the Impact Assessment Study in November 2001 were accepted, the Queensland Government began securing the land requirements for the EAC.

This involved further planning and acquiring the land needed for both the Stuart Bypass and the EAC. It also included the completion of detailed Environmental and Cultural Heritage Management Plans. In addition, the Queensland Government agreed that an environmental protection area would be created on 585 hectares of government-controlled land on the southern bank of Ross River.

The department is currently working with the Department of Environment and Resource Management to rehabilitate and conserve the area. A Biodiversity Management Plan has been developed to guide the protection of the area’s values.

Both the Stuart Bypass and the EAC will provide essential access to the Townsville State Development Area (TSDA).

The TSDA was declared in late 2003 as an area for heavy industry. It comprises 4,900 hectares including what is known as the Stuart Industrial Area. The current rural use of the land will change as heavy industry establishes on the site.

Other developments and activities in the surrounding area include the:

  • Townsville Ocean Terminal
  • Port of Townsville Commercial Marine Precinct Project
  • Rocky Springs Residential Development
  • Townsville Bruce Highway Southern Access Corridor Upgrade.