Gap lanes to open for Christmas

THE highway at Cunningham's Gap east of Warwick has re-opened from one lane to two from early today, right in the nick of time for the Christmas weekend rush.

Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace issued a statement late last night saying two lanes - one in each direction without stop-go traffic controllers - would operate from today after rain held up work.

The re-opening was scheduled to happen in the early pre-dawn hours of today.

"The last few wet weeks have been tough however our crews have worked around the clock to repair the road and get the lanes opened as quickly and safely as possible," Mr Wallace said.

"Crews have put in temporary surfacing so two of the three lanes can be opened for holiday travellers and for the motorists who rely on this link each day."

Mr Wallace said considerable work had been carried out to make the road safe in time for Christmas.

But work on all of the damaged sections across the Gap is far from over, with the worst-affected site at Clayton's Gully needing a brand new stretch of four lane highway to be built, with this project due to start in February and not likely to be completed until the middle of next year.

Mr Wallace also said minor works would re-commence in early 2012 at the remaining sites at Six Penny Gully, Fig Tree Gully and west of Fig Tree Gully, held up by wet weather.

"We'll need to remove about 130,000m3 of rock and soil to build the new road 600 metres long and cut 50 metres into the slopes," he said.

"We've carried out a lot of work to strengthen the road and its embankments, including rock filling, excavating, piling and driving in more than 1000 soil nails."

He said the work at Cunningham's Gap was part of Operation Queenslander - the largest reconstruction effort in Queensland's history.

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