Clayton Utz celebrates $1.6bn project's public opening

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Clayton Utz says that the public opening of the Toowoomba Bypass is a celebratory milestone for the firm.

The independent firm was the lead legal counsel for the Queensland government on the project, having acted on the major road infrastructure development since its business case in 2012 through to its procurement and delivery. The project officially opened for traffic late September.

Initially known as the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, the $1.6bn 41km bypass project is one of the most significant road infrastructure projects undertaken in Queensland in recent years, Clayton Utz said. It provides a vital link in Australia’s national freight network, it added.

David Lester, major projects and construction partner, headed the Clayton Utz team. The group advised the Queensland government on all aspects of the project, from managing environmental approvals, land acquisition, native title and cultural heritage issues, through to procurement issues and contract management, the firm said.

Partners Frazer Moss, Shae McCartney, and Alan Maguire, as well as special counsel Chris Keane, senior associate Are Watne, and lawyer Laura Forman also provided expert advise on the deal.

“Clayton Utz prides itself on being the go-to law firm when Government is looking to deliver major infrastructure, and it was great to be able to bring the diverse and specialist experience of our team together on a project such as this," Lester said. “The Toowoomba Bypass is a critical piece of road infrastructure that is going to deliver many benefits for our national and regional freight network as well as for the residents of the Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley regions. We congratulate the Queensland and Federal Governments on the project's successful completion."

The bypass, which stretches from Helidon Spa to Athol, connects the Warrego Highway east interchange to the Gore Highway in the west. It features grade-separated intersections and connections on various parts of the road, a 30m-deep cut at the top of the Toowoomba Range, and an 800m-long viaduct over rail lines. The bypass also involved the construction of arch bridges to continue the New England highway over the cutting. The Toowoomba Bypass decongests Toowoomba Roads, reduces travel times, and improves safety across its range, Clayton Utz said.

David Lester