Skip links and keyboard navigation

Mackay Whitsunday region

The Mackay and Whitsunday district covers 90,140km2. It extends from north of Bowen to south of St Lawrence, and west to Clermont and the Bowen Basin. The region is known for its tropical beaches and island destinations, scattered throughout the Great Barrier Reef. The region has experienced population and economic growth fuelled by tourism, sugarcane and mining resources. The area is home to around 3.44% of Queensland’s total population. The region has 2,672km of state-controlled roads and 450km of the National Land Transport Network.

Regional facts

Mackay Whitsunday district map 
Mackay Whitsunday district Qld 
Area covered


Population of Queensland


Data source: Queensland Government Statistician's Office (Queensland Treasury), Queensland Regional Profiles (retrieved 16 May 2019)



State-controlled roads**


National Land Transport Network**


Vehicle and machinery inspections


Boating infrastructures


Community safety events held


Vehicle safety inspections completed




Drivers licence tests conducted


Customer face-to-face interaction


Priority enabled intersection

Data source: *Bridge Information System (BIS), 30 June 2019
Data source: **A Road Management Information System (ARMIS), 2019


  • Completed the $19.5 million1,2 replacement of 2 bridges at Vines Creek, on Mackay-Slade Point Road.
  • Completed the $979,1512 intersection upgrade on the Bruce Highway at the Nebo Road and Lagoon Street intersection.
  • Completed the $29.9 million2 restoration works on Marlborough–Sarina Road at Sarina Range.
  • Completed the $8.9 million2 safety improvement works on Koumala–Bolingbroke Road.

Vines Creek Bridges replacement project

The $19.5 million Vines Creek Bridges replacement project was completed in December 2018 after being fast-tracked as part of the Accelerated Works Program. The 2 bridges at Vines Creek are a key link in Mackay’s transport network as they are the sole access for heavy vehicles travelling to the Port of Mackay.

Key benefits of this project include:

  • increased mass limit to better accommodate heavy vehicles travelling to and from the Port of Mackay
  • improved cyclist and pedestrian access with the construction of a dedicated footpath
  • additional 1m storm surge protection following the completion of Mackay Regional Council’s levee wall.

The project reached construction milestones 3 months ahead of schedule, improving the connectivity and efficiency of Mackay’s transport corridors and supporting industry growth in the region.

Sarina Range reconstruction project

Restoration works totalling $29.9 million on the Marlborough–Sarina Road at Sarina Range were completed after a 21-month project to repair catastrophic damage caused by rainfall associated with Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie in March 2017.

Up to 1000 millimetres of rain was recorded around the Sarina Range, south of Mackay. As a result, Marlborough– Sarina Road suffered severe geotechnical failure with 30 areas requiring repair across 26 sites. This included two major landslips resulting in complete loss of the road and supporting embankment at each site.

The final works associated with the roadway restoration project included drainage, completion of bitumen and asphalt sealing, rehabilitation works, installation of guard rails, line marking and revegetation.

The Marlborough-Sarina Road (Sarina Range) restoration project was based on robust engineering solutions to catastrophic roadway failures and included several treatments to effectively restore the roadway. One lane of the road was reopened on 8 October 2018 under traffic control and the restoration project reached completion on 21 December 2018.

Eligible reconstruction works are jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).

For more information: Sarina Range reconstruction project

Student road safety education

As part of the Community Road Safety Grants Scheme, the department provided funding to a local school north of Mackay to help develop school children’s road safety awareness.

Calen District State College Parents and Citizens’ Association built a replica street scene with signs, crossings and lights to educate rural based students in the basics of road safety, particularly pedestrian and bicycle safety to build awareness when travelling in more built up areas. The project extended to the Calen kindergarten where the children were provided with resources to assist with developing a basic understanding of road rules.

For more information: Community road safety grants

Broken River Bridge Rehab

Delivering the 2018 Broken River Bridge rehabilitation project, demonstrated the department’s commitment to reducing their environmental impact and deliver an environmentally-sustainable project solution.

The Broken River Bridge is a timber structure built in 1937. The passage of time and nature’s elements had significantly weathered the bridge which needed repair. Located within the Eungella National Park, the bridge is recognised as 1 of the world’s best locations to see a rare elusive native platypus habitat.

RoadTek Mackay’s Timber Bridge Rehabilitation Crew undertook work:

  • driving several new steel piles into each abutment
  • selected girder, corbel and bracing replacements
  • removing old and install new ply decking
  • walkway handrail refurbishment and footpath tread replacement.

Consideration was taken during the project to ensure only positive impacts were felt by the environment and local community, with mitigation measures taken to limit negative impact wherever possible, including:

  • understanding the upcoming platypus breeding season
  • wet season constraints
  • peak camping seasons
  • school bus schedules/holiday periods.

In addition, the team undertook all activities off-site to reduce environmental contamination, removed waste materials, and constantly monitored water quality, vibration and noise activities.

Road and walkway

Completed works on the Broken River Bridge including new walkway making it easier for the community to ‘spot a platypus’.

Mackay Ring Road

Construction activities have continued on the $497.4 million Mackay Ring Road (Stage 1) project.

Works are progressing on the entire 11.3km 2 lane Mackay Ring Road, which will cater for future growth,reduce heavy vehicle traffic through Mackay and improve the operation of local, regional and national road networks.

Motorists will benefit with a reduction in travel time by avoiding 10 signalised intersections, and the introduction of a new river crossing over the Pioneer River. The project also paves the way for the first 2.6km of the Walkerston Bypass.

A major component of the Mackay Ring Road is the construction of 4 water crossings and 9 overpass structures. Piling works on all 13 structures are now complete, and more than 1 million cubic metres of pavement and fill have been placed on the project.

Construction is on track for completion in late-2020. This project is jointly funded by the Australian Government and Queensland Government.

Maritime crew training

In August 2018, the Maritime Safety Queensland Mackay office conducted crew and office training about vessel safety equipment use to their update skills and awareness. Some of the training included the use of marine distress flares, recovery exercises and a life raft deployment (conducted by North Queensland Bulk Ports and Reef Pilots).

The ex-MSQ Pilot boat ‘Borru’ present in the image (white wheel house), last saw service in the port of Bundaberg in 1998.

Staff carrying out training in boats on the water

MSQ marine on the water conducting training exercises.

Eton Range realignment on the Peak Downs Highway

The Eton Range realignment project is a $189.3 million project on the Peak Downs Highway, west of Mackay.

The Eton Range Realignment project is aimed at improving safety, accessibility and freight efficiency on the Peak Downs Highway. The project involves constructing a new split carriageway, with 2 lanes in each direction. One for carrying the traffic down the range and the other to bring the traffic up.

Once completed, the project will reduce the need to close the range due to the movement of over-size vehicles and provide opportunities for motorists to safely overtake.

In 2018, works to build the reinforced earth embankment were completed. The embankment measures 780m long and 45m tall at its highest point and was built to widen part of the existing range to 4 lanes—from the bottom of the range to past the upper hairpin bend. During November 2018 significant drainage works were also undertaken to install part of the central stormwater drainage line around the upper hairpin bend.

Aerial view of construction of road on hillside

A major construction milestone was reached in late 2018, when works to build the main reinforced earth embankment were completed.

For more information: Eton Range Peak Downs Highway

Future priorities

  • Continue planning for the $1.8 million duplication of the Bruce Highway, between Hay Point Road and Temples Lane.
  • Continue planning for the $15 million upgrade of the Bruce Highway at Goorganga Plains to improve flood immunity.
  • Complete planning for the $380,000 upgrade of the Myrtle Creek Bridge on Proserpine–Shute Harbour Road to improve flood immunity.
  • Complete planning for the $500,000 upgrade of Bee Creek Bridge on the Peak Downs Highway.
  • Continue planning for the $2 million Mackay Port Access Road.
  • Commence construction on the $3.2 million BowenBoat Harbour breakwater extension.
  • Commence construction on the $110.6 million Mackay Northern Access Upgrade.
  • Complete construction on 2 overtaking lanes on the Bruce Highway at Kalarka Road and Mosquito Creek ($7.3 million) and 1 overtaking lane near Carmila ($7.5 million).
  • Complete design and commence pavement widening and strengthening on the $35 million 14.4km section of the Peak Downs Highway between Wuthung Road and Caval Ridge Mine.
  • Complete construction on the $189.3 million3 Eton Range, Peak Downs Highway.


  • 1 Reflects Life to Date expenditure for project.
  • 2 Includes Australian Government funding of $200 million. The Queensland Government contribution includes $88.4 million from the State Infrastructure Fund - Priority Economic Works and Productivity Program.
  • 3 Funded through the Queensland Government’s Significant Regional Infrastructure Projects and Program, as part of the State Infrastructure Fund.
  • 4 Funding for this project is for pre-construction activities only.
  • 5 Jointly delivered by Queensland Rail and Department of Transport and Main Roads.