Cairns Ring Road


The Bruce Highway is part of the National Highway. It provides the vital linkage between Cairns, other Queensland coastal cities and Brisbane.

The National Highway terminates in the Cairns CBD at the corners of Florence and Sheridan Streets. It runs some distance from the Port of Cairns and the Cairns Airport to finally converge at intersection of Captain Cook and Kennedy Highways and Mount Milman Drive, Smithfield, north of Cairns – the point from which Port Douglas, Mossman, the northern Atherton Tablelands, Cape York Peninsula and Gulf of Carpentaria are accessed.

The Cairns Airport is another piece of critical infrastructure. It serves as the point of entry or exit for tourists visiting the region, is a key freight hub (enabling the export of produce including seafood, fresh flowers, fruit and vegetables) and provides expertise and service capability in aviation services.

The growing freight market serves to sustain airlines balancing the seasonal variation in passengers. There is significant potential to expand export activities, particularly to Asian markets. Connectivity to the Airport is a critical enabling factor in the future development of the Airport as an export and service hub.

  1. Extending the National Highway from its current terminus in the Cairns CBD north to the intersection of the Captain Cook and Kennedy Highways at Smithfield.
  2. Creating a ring road traversing the Western Arterial Road to the west of the city to connect back with the northern end of the Bruce Highway to fully link the northern most part of the National Highway to the Cairns Port and Airport.

Advance Cairns Ring Road


$5 million for strategic investigations, costings and design in the 2018/19 financial year with construction activities to commence in 2019/20.


Cairns. Access to the Cairns Port from the north and west and between the port and the airport is constrained by the need to travel directly through the city.

There is significant commuter congestion on the Captain Cook Highway and along the Western Arterial Road, leading from the northern beaches into the city.

The National Highway does not connect the Cairns Airport or Port with the city’s southern access route (Cairns’ principal regional export hub) nor does it connect the airport, port and Bruce Highway (Cairns’ principal northern freight route) with the region’s agriculture producing areas (Atherton Tablelands, Cape York Peninsula or Mossman).


That during 2018/19 financial year, the Queensland Government, through DILGP, DTMR and DIRD, works with the Commonwealth Government to amend the National Land Transport Act 2014 to extend national highway designation from the current terminus of the Bruce Highway in the Cairns CBD, north to the intersection of the Captain Cook and Kennedy Highways at Smithfield.

That the Queensland Department of Transport & Main Roads engages with the Commonwealth Government to commence strategic investigations and design of a Cairns ring road in 2018/19.

That the State Government commits $5M to the planning studies and budgets for construction to commence by 2018/19.


CEO, Advance Cairns Ph: 07 4080 2900


PROPONENTS: Advance Cairns, Cairns Chamber of Commerce, RDA FNQ&TS
PRIORITY: Infrastructure
STATE ELECTORATES: Cairns, Barron River, Mulgrave