Hwy duplication from Rocky to Gladstone still long way off
CENTRAL Queensland politicians believe a four-lane highway from Rockhampton to Gladstone is still many years away, despite two serious crashes this month closing parts of the road for several hours.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said while it was frustrating to see the fast-tracking of the $5.4 billion Brisbane cross-river rail project, it didn't justify duplication of the Bruce Hwy between Rockhampton and Gladstone just yet.
There were major delays on the Bruce Hwy earlier this month when a car and fuel tanker carrying 28,000L of fuel collided near Marmor.
The road was also blocked with lane closures for at least three hours on Christmas Day when a car rolled about 1km north of Bajool, spilling about 200L of diesel onto the road.
Although there have been numerous government measures to increase road safety along the Bruce Hwy, the vital road link can be shut down by crashes such as these causing hours of delays for travellers and truckies.
In September last year, figures from the Department of Main Roads and Transport showed between 4300 vehicles at the Calliope River Bridge and 8600 vehicles at Scrubby Creek, Midgee.
Of this, heavy vehicles were 30% and 21% of the total.
However, at the time the RACQ said duplication works would not be considered until traffic figures reached upwards of 10,000 vehicles a day in certain places.
Based on the figures provided last year, The Morning Bulletin was told a duplication wouldn't be needed for 20 to 30 years.
Ms Landry agreed, although was open to further studies of the road to see if duplication would be of value.
"The Bruce Hwy is the lifeblood of coastal Queensland and deserves to be taken seriously," she said.
"While it is frustrating to see the state government waste money on a rail line through the guts of Brisbane, this frustration does not complete the case for duplicating the Bruce between Rockhampton and Gladstone.
"I am open to any evidence that shows it would be a good use of taxpayer money and encourage the Queensland Government to do their bit in studying this vital piece of our road network and how it can best be improved."
Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke did not comment on the duplication specifically, he said there was a strong focus on improving safety on the Bruce Hwy from both the federal and state governments.
He said the Bruw Hwy was being widened between Bajool and Midgee, a $32 million project which started in April.
Work also started in July to upgrade two Bruce Hwy intersections at South Ulam Rd at Bajool, and Gentle Annie Rd at Raglan.
Mr O'Rourke said both projects would also provide intersection upgrades including turning lanes and are expected to be completed early to mid-next year.
"In October we completed a $3 million widening of the Bruce Hwy at Hut Creek, north of Mt Larcom. This was jointly delivered with Bruce Hwy widening at Brendonna, north of Calliope" Mr O'Rourke said.
He said the Bruce Hwy Trust would see $1 billion invested in projects, with the Trust identifying and prioritising funding based on need.