Far North Queensland’s Palmerston Highway reopened ahead of schedule

Published Friday, 09 February, 2024 at 04:40 PM

Minister for Transport and Main Roads and Minister for Digital Services
The Honourable Bart Mellish

  • Sections of the Palmerston Highway that were forced to close due to damage from flooding associated with ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper will reopen tomorrow Saturday 10 February.
  • The temporary single lane section will open to all traffic including heavy vehicles.
  • TMR will continue to investigate long-term repairs for the highway.

The Tablelands region’s Palmerston Highway will reopen to all traffic, including heavy vehicles on Saturday 10 February.

The urgent works to open a single lane were jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) and have been completed ahead of time.


The highway suffered significant landslips and pavement failures as a result of record rainfall associated with ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper.


Crews from the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) laid a fresh seal over a temporary track single lane between Crawford’s Lookout and Junction Road earlier this week.


Works included excavating 4200 tonnes of earth, installing 5400 tonnes of rock, laying 1500 tonnes of road base, followed by laying 150 tonnes of asphalt. Crews also installed 60 lengths of stormwater pipe.


Construction of the single lane section began on 8 January 2024 after the hill stopped moving and the ground had dried sufficiently to enable work to begin.


Operators of excess mass vehicles must apply for a permit through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator at www.nhvr.gov.au/about-us/nhvr-portal.


For up-to-date information about works on the state-controlled network call 13 19 40 or visit www.QLDTraffic.com.au.


Quotes attributable to Federal Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt:


“Through the DRFA, state and local governments are able to undertake emergency works to repair roads to a trafficable condition as soon as practically possible so we can help reconnect communities as a priority,” Minister Watt said.


“I want to commend crews for their work to get this road open as soon as possible in challenging conditions – their efforts will help people travel to work, school, see their friends and family, and importantly, help economic activity flow easier to Tablelands communities.


“We know that there is more work to be done across an absolutely massive area, but I want to assure people we will continue to work with the Queensland Government to forge ahead with the recovery.”


Quotes attributable to the Transport and Main Roads Minister Bart Mellish:


“Our crews have put in an enormous effort to finish and reopen a critical freight route in the Far Northern District,” Minister Mellish said.


“TMR understands the impact that damage to the Palmerston Highway has had on heavy vehicle operators, the agricultural sector and Tablelands residents and businesses.


“These works were conducted in a complex and challenging environment that included the only full width pavement slips on state-controlled roads in Far North District.


“The damage was significant – the entire hill with the road on it had sunk two metres and shifted two metres sidewards down the hill.


“Although some heavy rain did postpone works, TMR crews pulled out all the stops to safely complete works and ease pressure on the state-controlled road network.


“The single lane will accommodate all traffic including heavy vehicles and TMR will continue to investigate long term solutions for repairs to the Palmerston Highway.”


This statement replaces the statement which was posted at 3:50pm Friday 9th February 2024.



Media contacts:

Minister Watt: Tail Eley 0499 770 772

Minister Mellish: Lesley Major 0419 288 284