RACQ Report Reveals Centenary Motorway Crawls at School Zone Speeds During Peak Hours

The Centenary Motorway is living up to its name and taking drives back a century with average weekday peak hour speeds slower than suburban school zones.

Read: Olympic-Size Congestion: Call For Urgent Upgrade on Centenary Highway

The latest traffic data from  Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) shows the major Brisbane motorway corridor is a slow grind, with average speeds of just 37.4 km/h between Ipswich Motorway and Fig Tree Pocket Road during the 6-10 a.m. peak period.

RACQ’s 2023 Average Speed and Travel Time Report revealed the Centenary Motorway is one of the city’s most congested routes. The Pacific Motorway between North Quay and O’Keefe Street was Brisbane’s slowest at just 28.6km/h in the 3-7 p.m. afternoon peak period.

Photo credit: Google Street View

The organisation’s Head of Public Policy, Dr Michael Kane, acknowledged the ongoing Centenary Bridge upgrade work but emphasised that more comprehensive solutions are required to mitigate the escalating traffic challenges. This includes considering connections to proposed bypass tunnels to allow motorists to skirt around Brisbane.

“We know the Queensland Government is working on a draft Master Plan for the Centenary Motorway and we need this to be holistic and well thought out,” Dr Kane said.

“Any long-term planning for the Centenary Motorway corridor must consider a connecting ‘Western Bypass’ corridor linking through to the proposed Gympie Road Bypass Tunnel.

Proposed Gympie Road Bypass Tunnel (Photo credit: northbrisbaneinfrastructure.com.au)

“By fixing, finishing and extending our outer ring of motorways we will take traffic off our local roads and corridors by allowing them to bypass Brisbane altogether.

According to Dr Kane, any comprehensive strategy must heavily incorporate public transit solutions, such as segregated bus lanes, allowing for the possibility of extending the Brisbane Metro network’s reach.

The RACQ report did have a silver lining – upgraded sections of the Pacific Motorway saw dramatic speed improvements, giving a glimpse of how Brisbane traffic could flow if solutions are implemented.

Read: Congested Section Of Centenary Motorway To Receive Much-needed Upgrades

RACQ is eager to collaborate closely with local, state, and federal government entities as they persist in championing the interests of drivers across Queensland.

Published 27-March-2024

Community Consultation Continues for Centenary Motorway Upgrade

After an initial round of consultations in early 2023, the second round of community engagement for the Centenary Motorway Upgrade – Darra to Toowong will start this year.

Read: Olympic-Size Congestion: Call For Urgent Upgrade on Centenary Highway0

Local residents will have the opportunity to review updated draft plans and provide input on the proposed masterplan. 

Over the four-week consultation period earlier in 2023, there were over 2,000 interactions with stakeholders and community members. Some of the key issues raised included reducing congestion on the motorway; improving biking and walking facilities; and considering additional public transportation services.

Centenary Motorway (Photo credit: tmr.qld.gov.au) 

The current project encompasses improvements along the entire stretch of road from the Ipswich Motorway interchange to the Toowong Roundabout.

Project map (Photo credit: tmr.qld.gov.au)

Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) stresses the importance of public feedback in finalising designs for the next phase of construction after the current bridge upgrades are completed.

The $298.5 million Centenary Bridge Upgrade represents the first stage of the broader motorway enhancements. 

Works on the new three-lane northbound bridge, rehabilitation of the existing southbound bridges, and improved pedestrian/cycling infrastructure were slated to commence in late March 2023.

Centenary Motorway Upgrade, Stage 1 (Photo credit: tmr.qld.gov.au)

The Centenary Bridge, which forms part of the Motorway, currently carries over 85,000 vehicles daily, and projections estimate over 150,000 vehicles will need to cross it by 2036; the upgrade will improve safety to reduce crashes, increase capacity to meet current and future traffic demand with better travel time reliability, provide better facilities for active transport, and lengthen entry and exit ramps for safer merge lanes. 

TMR and contractors aim to minimise impacts to motorists and residents throughout construction. The team is currently finalising work plans and permits ahead of the start date. Initial on-site activities will involve surveys, site preparation, and utility relocations.

The federal government has pledged $10 million through the Major Project  Business Case fund, in additional funding to support planning and development of the corridor upgrades. 

Read: Contractors Chosen for the Centenary Bridge Upgrade

TMR plans to hold a series of community information sessions beginning February 14. Further information including the survey form can be viewed on TMR’s website

Published 10-December-2023

Congested Section Of Centenary Motorway To Receive Much-needed Upgrades

An upgrade is being planned for the Centenary Motorway, between Toowong and Darra, considered one of the most congested sections of Centenary Motorway.

Read: Motorists Warned Of Increased Risk Of Deer On Centenary Roads

Now updating the previous plan for the upgrades, TMR said the project will improve safety and capacity between Frederick Street in Toowong and the Ipswich Motorway in Darra.

“When completed, the fully upgraded motorway will cater for the transport demands along the corridor in the medium to long-term with upgrades focusing on safety, improving travel-times, and active transport facilities,” Transport and Main Roads announced.

Every year for a decade now, Centenary Motorway has made it to the top 10 most congested roads in Queensland. 

According to RACQ, vehicles moved at an average speed of 39.9 km/h on the motorway, making it the Brisbane road with the lowest inbound peak hour speed.

RACQ traffic and safety engineering manager, Gregory Miszkowycz, revealed they have been campaigning for upgrades to the section of the motorway between Darra and Toowong for several years.

Mr Miszkowycz highlighted that during peak times, this section of the thoroughfare is one of the slowest highway commutes in southeast Queensland.

centenary upgrades
Photo credit: Google Street View

RACQ’s 2021 Red Spot Congestion survey  also showed that Centenary Motorway had the second-highest number of nominations by frustrated motorists following Bruce Highway.

Around 142 respondents claimed the motorway does not have enough lanes and road capacity.

Mr Miszkowycz believes the additional lanes, interchange and safety upgrades between the Ipswich Mtwy and Toowong are desperately needed given the expected population growth in the west and Ipswich.

The updated motorway masterplan will also outline measures to improve safety, travel-time reliability and efficiency on an arterial road. It will also identify the most effective “staging approach’’ to deliver the motorway upgrade.

At present, there are already two major projects on Centenary Motorway: the $15-million Centenary Motorway and Logan Motorway interchange upgrade and the $244-million duplication of Centenary bridge which is anticipated to commence in late 2022.

The Australian Government has already committed $10 million for the upgrades between Toowong and Darra, under the Major Projects Business Case Funding Program.

New Sumners Road Interchange Renamed and Completed Months Ahead of Projection

Did you know that $80-million worth of upgrades to the Sumners Road Interchange, have now been completed, six months ahead of schedule? Considered one of Brisbane’s busiest interchanges, it’s now getting a new name as well.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk showed in a video post that the Sumners Road Interchange now delivers a smooth ride for the over 35,000 commuters who come from Jamboree Heights, Middle Park, Sinnamon Park, Darra, and the nearby suburbs. 

The interchange has been renamed the Len Waters Overpass, after the first Indigenous elite Kittyhawk fighter pilot of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during World War II. The premier said that Mr Waters’s family members are residents of Middle Park. He raised six children in Inala before he passed away in 1993. 

“It’s a fitting tribute and a mark of pride in the local community, especially in the lead up to Anzac Day,” Ms Palaszczuk said.  

The Sumners Road Interchange consists of six lanes that remove the traffic congestions in the surrounding suburbs. The upgrades also include a cycling underpass and U-turn facilities that will allow faster and safer travels, especially for the industrial and business workforce. 

Photo Credit: Jess Pugh MP/Facebook

“We replaced the two roundabouts with signalised intersections, demolished the old two-lane bridge and built two new bridges, providing six traffic lanes in total to accommodate the high volume of traffic,” according to Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey.

This project is part of the $26.9 billion infrastructure investment of the State Government in the next four years, and a much-needed response in the time of COVID and the looming population growth of Queensland. 

During the course of the upgrades, 105 jobs were fulfilled and several businesses were tapped to supply the concrete and asphalt needed to complete the roads. 

Easing Traffic Congestion On Centenary Motorway: $16 Million Announced For A Detailed Business Case

A plan to help ease the infamous traffic on the Centenary Motorway is finally coming together. Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey recently announced the allocation of an additional $16 million for a detailed business case on top of the $4 million budget that has already been earmarked for the project.

The State Government is planning for a second bridge to be built across the Brisbane River in Jindalee. This will help ease congestion and will allow for three lanes on the stretch of the highway. The project will also include bikeway upgrades and a longer merging lane.

The government’s action to ease congestion on the highway comes amidst widespread public clamor that the traffic situation has become untenable and will only likely get worse as the population in the area grows.

The project’s business case is expected to be finished by mid-2019. After this, the government will allocate capital funding for the project.

Last year, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that the government will spend $65 million to upgrade the highway. She said that her government is committed to fixing the traffic congestion.

Read: Centenary Highway To Get $65-Million Upgrade Within 12 Months
Read: Centenary Motorway Registers Slowest Traffic In The City

Left Out of State Budget, Centenary Motorway Will Continue Peak-Hour Crawl – RACQ

“Always the bridesmaid, never the bride,” that’s how RACQ spokesperson Renee Smith described Centenary Motorway as it once again missed out in this year’s State Budget.

The state’s peak monitoring body was calling on the Palaszczuk Government to make the Centenary Motorway a priority before the 2017-18 State Budget was announced. But the State Budget turned out to be a disappointment to Centenary when the major highway did not receive funding for upgrades.

Because of the budget snub, motorists would have to wait yet another year for their hope of improvements to the main thoroughfare.

The RACQ spokesperson noted how for several years, there have been planning studies but no money for actual construction.

“Since 2004, there has been money put aside for planning for the major thoroughfare but the State Government has fallen short of providing significant funds to improve choke points along this vital road,” said Ms Smith.

The government allocated $700,000 for planning research that started in 2016. By the looks of it, that would continue up to this financial year.

RACQ stressed that leaving Centenary Motorway as is would mean that drivers will continue with the crawling speed during peak hours.

Latest studies from RACQ revealed that some section of Centenary Motorway registered the slowest traffic speed during peak hours in Brisbane. Motorists are travelling way below the average speed compared to last year. From Warrender Street and Sumners Road, for instance, traffic speed dropped by as much as 26 percent in the hours between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.

“It’s waited long enough – let’s reward the Centenary and its thousands of commuters for their patience, with actual funding commitments to improving this major corridor,” Ms Smith said.

Mount Ommaney Ignored

Mount Ommaney MP, Tarnya Smith also voiced out her disappointment at how Mount Ommaney was ignored in the State Budget.

Ms Smith wrote on her Facebook page how the budget was a complete let-down for Mount Ommaney residents. She expressed dismay that there was no funding for upgrades of Sumners Road and Centenary Highway.

“Once again for the third year running, the elephant is still in the room. Sumners Road is left without funding and worse still, commuters are still stuck in traffic,” Ms Smith said.

Read Ms Smith’s Facebook Note.

Find out more about Queensland Budget 2017-18.