Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts

Cairns Ring Road

Funding Program:Investment Road and Rail Program
Status:In planning
Transport Mode:Road
Estimated Project Cost:$359,000,000
Australian Government Contribution:$287,200,000
Local Council/Shire:Cairns Regional Council

Project Description

Significant congestion on the Captain Cook Highway is constraining access to the Cairns Port from the north and west of Cairns, and access between the Cairns Port and the Cairns Airport. Currently there is no easy access to connect the Cairns Port and Cairns Airport with the region's agricultural producing areas within the Atherton Tablelands, Cape York Peninsula and Mossman.

The Cairns Ring Road project will plan, design and construct road upgrades between the corner of Comport and Draper Streets in Cairns CBD to the intersection of the Captain Cook and Kennedy Highways, and Mount Milman Drive in Smithfield to ease congestion and improve connectivity between key activity hubs in the region.

The future work may include active and public transport improvements, changes to bridge structures, safety upgrades, road widening and total network solutions.

The project will also deliver early works on the Airport Avenue to James Street section of the Captian Cook Highway and may include an additional lane between Moffat Street and Lily Street, closure of some existing median breaks, intersection upgrades and changes to Passenger Transport arrangements.


The project will improve traffic flow, freight efficiency and road safety by reducing urban congestion and travel time, enabling better connectivity between people with jobs and services, and goods with markets. The project will enhance regional connectivity, including between Cairns and the industries within the Atherton Tablelands and Cape York.

There is also an expectation that there will be a reduction in the number and severity of collisions and travel time while also improving reliability of transport networks and active transport, as well as improved accessibility between centres.


The Australian Government has committed up to $287.2 million towards the project.


The delivery schedule will be determined in consultation with the Queensland Government.

Disclaimer: The material contained in this site is made available on the understanding that the Department is not thereby engaged in rendering professional advice for a particular purpose. Before relying on the material in any important matter, users should carefully evaluate the accuracy, completeness and relevance of the information for their purposes and should obtain appropriate professional advice relevant to their particular circumstances.

Project details last updated: 7/11/2022