Green Light for Toowoomba Bypass

USQ students gain hands-on experience in historic project

It’s been years in the making but this weekend the Toowoomba Bypass will get the green light.

Since day one the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) has played an integral role in the historic project.

“At the very beginning we were approached by Transport and Main Roads to be a part of the project, particularly from an educational perspective,” USQ Head of Civil Engineering and Surveying Professor Kevin McDougall said.

Since the first sod turning in 2015, USQ engineering and surveying students have been getting hands-on experience on the site.

Several classes undertook site visits at a number of project locations, with staff from Nexus – the company tasked with building the Second Range Crossing – engaging with students.

The $1.6 billion Toowoomba Bypass is the largest Australian Government funding commitment to a single road project in Queensland’s history.

Officially opening on Sunday, Professor McDougall said the 41 kilometre bypass would provide a gateway for heavy vehicles, help ease growing traffic pressure on existing highway networks, improve safety and reduce travel times across the range.

“This was a once-in-a-generation project which USQ students and staff have not just had a front-row seat at, but played a part in,” he said.

“With the help of the site team our students had an opportunity to have some excellent examples of engineering and surveying.

“From the genius engineering feats to the challenges throughout the project - it was an invaluable learning opportunity.

“It’s been a great chance for our students to see a project of this magnitude in action. They are now entering the workforce and going to help design the future of our region, as engineers, surveyors and urban planners.

“They will apply the practical analysis and technical principles they have learned through their studies and practical projects such as the Second Range Crossing to build and maintain a range of engineered community solutions.”

That is exactly what USQ Engineering and Business student Madison Stahlhut is doing.

The 22-year old has finished her Engineering subjects and is now working as a civil engineer.

For the Toowoomba local, the highlight of her university studies was being part of the Second Range Crossing project.

“It was a good opportunity to experience first-hand what a career in engineering would be like,” she said.

“Most people my age would never even dream of being able to experience and be a part of something like the bypass, so it feels really good to say ‘I was there.’”

Find out more about studying Engineering and Surveying at USQ: https://www.usq.edu.au/study/degrees/bachelor-of-engineering-honours.

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Toowoomba Second Range Crossing (image via Queensland Government's Department of Transport and Main Roads)