Looking over the existing Haughton River Bridge; Looking over the existing Haughton River Bridge;

Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade, North Queensland

Upgrading one of Queensland’s most complex floodplains

Located 50km south of Townsville, 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 tramways, weirs and levees – closes every one to two years, isolating the township of Giru and significantly affecting locals, tourists, transport operators and other motorists.

In a joint venture with HDR, Arup will be designing upgrades to this section of the Bruce Highway for The Infrastructure Group (TIG – comprising BMD Constructions, Albem Operations, JF Hull Holdings and Bielby Holdings).

Project Summary


13.5km floodplain

4waterways intersecting the project area

Improving safety and flood resilience

Local residents are familiar with the area’s flooding issues, with the longest recorded highway closure lasting five days. The most recent closure occurred in March 2018.

Currently the highway is serviced by three narrow, ageing, low level bridges; the Haughton River Bridge, Pink Lily Lagoon Bridge and Horseshoe Lagoon bridge. Other existing infrastructure includes a low level floodway and ageing culverts. The roadway also sits at a low level, with a narrow seal width.


The 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 nine rural intersections; constructing two overpasses of cane tramway open level crossings; 13.5 km of pavement on a new alignment upstream of the existing highway; and installing wide centreline treatments.

View along an existing section of the Haughton River Floodplain along the Bruce Highway View along an existing section of the Haughton River Floodplain along the Bruce Highway

A local team with local experience

The TIG construction team, along with Arup and HDR, brings over 35 years’ experience on more than 160 infrastructure and bridgework projects throughout Queensland, with almost identical project experiences in complex bridge structures and civil engineering within tropical North Queensland environments.

With a keen understanding of working in this climate, the team has developed a holistic solution to overcome the challenges and constraints associated with working during the wet season, including detailed strategies to maintain full highway operations during construction. Along with the Department of Transport and Main Roads, TIG is committed to ensuring that adjacent landholders and Giru residents living downstream of the project are not impacted by construction works, or in perpetuity.

The key to developing the successful tender through the dual Early Contractor Involvement process was being co-located with a team with similar goals, cultures, and innovative ideas. We are looking forward to delivering this critical piece of infrastructure and improving the journey along the Bruce Highway. ”

Mark Cowan Mark Cowan Associate