Captain Cook Highway – Smithfield Bypass


This $164 million Smithfield Bypass is a vital piece of infrastructure for the northern beaches of Cairns, in Far North Queensland. The new bypass has reduced congestion on the existing Captain Cook Highway between McGregor Road and Cairns Western Arterial Road, by removing through-traffic from the local road network. The bypass has also improved access for local nearby roads, such as the Kennedy Highway, reducing congestion at the Smithfield roundabout.

The Cairns Western Arterial Road has been upgraded to four lanes from the southern connection of the bypass to the traffic signals at nearby Caravonica State School, and traffic signals were installed at the Skyrail Drive to ease traffic flow in peak times.

In partnership with HDR, BG&E provided design management, bridge and staging design services, in addition to civil and traffic engineering services for the bypass.

An alternate layout to the reference design was developed by our team, which connected to the existing road network at the Cairns Western Arterial Road rather than Yorkeys Knob Intersection, drawing significantly more traffic to the intersection, reducing congestion within the Smithfield Township.

This also provided a significant whole-of-life cost saving, by eliminating the need for millions of dollars in additional infrastructure, which would be redundant within 10 years. The new structurally efficient layout earned certification by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia for an Excellent Design Infrastructure Sustainability Rating.

To address the challenge of rapid scope change throughout the design development process, an open, transparent and collaborative approach was adopted. Design works were provided in a rapid and prioritised order, enabling some aspects of construction to proceed while design was still underway, which reduced project timeframes.

The Smithfield Bypass opened in November 2021, catering for the current and future needs of the area with safer and more efficient travel.



Brisbane, Queensland



Queensland Government Department of Transport and Main Roads

Curiosity, Bravery & Trust

World-Class Engineering