Work ramps up on Cunninghams Gap reconstruction project

Published Wednesday, 13 September, 2023 at 04:17 PM

Minister for Transport and Main Roads and Minister for Digital Services
The Honourable Mark Bailey

Final preparations are underway ahead of repairs to a two-kilometre section of the Cunningham Highway at Cunninghams Gap, which was extensively damaged by the 2019 bushfires.

The work, which will be completed by the Department of Transport and Main Roads along with contractor, McIlwain Civil Engineering, will occur from Monday 9 October 2023 through to Friday 8 December 2023, with road users potentially experiencing intermittent delays of up to 30 minutes when travelling through Cunninghams Gap between the hours of 6am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.

Further traffic changes can be expected throughout the project including in early 2024, with 24-hour, seven-day-a-week stop/slow traffic conditions for up to three months. Further information will be provided to the community in advance via email, SMS and variable message signs.

Assistance is jointly funded by the Albanese and Palaszczuk Governments through the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements, (DRFA).

From February to July 2023, extensive engagement was undertaken with the freight, agriculture, livestock, tourism and construction industries, local businesses, and neighbouring communities to gain a deeper understanding into travel movements through the Gap. The information provided was very valuable and has resulted in a review of some elements of the project to minimise disruption to road users.

Key features of the project, to be constructed by mid-2025, include:

  • Scaling and stabilising the slope above the road to reduce the risk of rockfalls.
  • Rockfall protection systems:
    • About 20,000m² of rockfall protection mesh to be installed on the upslope.
    • Over 1km of fencing at the bottom of the slope to catch falling rocks.
  • Retaining walls on the downslope to enable sufficient carriageway width to install upslope catch fencing.
  • Replacing and constructing additional concrete barriers.
  • Major reconstruction works at the Gap cutting.
  • Guardrail with rubrail to protect motorcycle riders from impacts with posts.
  • Wide centre line treatment to increase separation of opposing traffic.
  • Constructing an emergency stopping bay 1km before the Alan Cunningham monument.
  • Pavement works to restore the surface of the highway.
  • Technology to monitor geotechnical systems that will provide real time data of potential large scale rock displacement.
  • Work around the Main Range National Park carpark to maintain safety of highway traffic, visitors to the Gap crest and pedestrians.

Scaling and stabilisation works will continue over the coming months on the slope above the road. This work will be undertaken by highly skilled rope access technicians.

Following this work, the removal of the 18 shipping containers will begin. While most work associated with the removal will be undertaken behind the safety barriers, intermittent traffic holds will be required for large machinery to safely remove and transport these shipping containers. The shipping containers will be replaced by fencing.

Activities to be undertaken below the road in the coming months include vegetation removal, earthworks, drainage and construction of retaining walls.

Quotes attributable to Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt:

“Considerable damage was caused by the 2019 bushfires, and it’s great to see work progressing.”

“This section of the highway is a key part of Queensland’s southern Darling Downs region, connecting communities in Warwick and Inglewood and further west to Goondiwindi.

“The Albanese Government is pleased to work with the Queensland Government to ensure both residents and visitors are able to travel safely on this stretch of road.”

Quotes attributable to the Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey:

"Community and stakeholder feedback has been so important in this process and has been incorporated into a review of the project design and construction methods.”

“We want to reduce the impact on communities and industry as we deliver these critical repairs.  

"My department has also worked with the trucking industry on their specific needs to help mitigate travel delays through project design changes.

"Due to the complexity of the recovery work and to ensure the safety of the workers and road users, we can't fully rule out needing occasional emergent short-term, temporary closures of the highway at the Gap in the future.

“Where possible, we will provide advance notice if temporary closures are required.

"We thank all drivers and local residents for their feedback and patience while we repair Cunninghams Gap."

Further information:

  • To subscribe to receive project updates or traffic alerts (via email or SMS) by emailing or by calling 1800 497 100 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).
  • Variable message signs will be placed at the entryway to the works zone and at neighbouring townships, to ensure road users are aware of the traffic changes.
  • The project team will be available to discuss the upcoming traffic changes on the following dates/ locations:

Monday 25 September


9am to 11am at Aratula Community Sports Centre, Carter Road, Aratula QLD 4309


2pm to 4pm at Kalbar School of Arts & Memorial Hall 63 Edward St, Kalbar QLD 4309

Friday 22 September


8am to 10am at Farley Street Piazza

Maryland Street, Stanthorpe QLD 4380


12pm to 2pm at Rose City Shoppingworld

81 Palmerin St, Warwick QLD 4370

Thursday 21 September


2pm to 4pm at Maryvale Community Hall

33 Taylor St, Maryvale QLD 4370


Media Contacts:

Minister Watt: Tali Eley - 0499 770 772

Minister Bailey: