Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade

Visualisation of the bridge for the Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade project

Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade

The Haughton River Floodplain is one of the most complex floodplains in Queensland, with regular flood events spreading for up to 13.5km along the Bruce Highway. On average, this section of the highway – containing four main waterways, cane railways, weirs and levees – closes every one to two years, isolating the township of Giru and significantly affecting locals, tourists, transport operators and other motorists.

The $514m upgrade will see safety for motorists improved, through the replacement of three key bridges (including a wider Haughton River Bridge); realignment of the Reed Beds curve; upgrades to local intersections; constructing two overpasses of cane railway open level crossings; 13.5 km of pavement on a new alignment upstream of the existing highway; and installing wide centreline treatments.

HDR, in a design joint venture with Arup, and in collaboration with the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, the project replaced a series of sub-standard waterway crossings to effectively remove the flood vulnerability of the Bruce Highway across the Haughton River floodplain, located 50km south of Townsville. Through the HDR and design JV team’s unique and innovative approach, the final design solution reduced the number of bridges from the Reference Design down from 16 to 7, saving more than 2,000 linear metres of bridges, without significantly increasing the waterway area of transverse culvert.

HDR and the design JV design broadly concluded in December 2019 and construction of the Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade Project is expected to be completed by mid-2021.

Visualisation of the bridge for the Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade project
Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads

Townsville (50km south), QLD



Conference Magazine for 2020 National Infrastructure Awards
Innovation Excellence Project of the Year Award (2020)
National Infrastructure Awards
Infrastructure Partnerships Australia