Start on road upgrade has been years in the making
IT'S rare not to receive a friendly wave from a passing motorist on Gladstone Monto Rd but a particular section of road requires two hands firmly placed on the steering wheel.
For decades the 5km stretch between Nagoorin and Ubobo has been a single-lane road requiring motorists to drive half on gravel and half on bitumen.
However, years of white-knuckle drives along the road will soon come to an end courtesy of a $1.7-million State Government upgrade.
Bitumen rollers and grader machinery are at the site with works to widened and upgrade the road about to start.
Gladstone MP and assistant minister for treasury Glenn Butcher said the project would capture growth in the region's $4.7-billion economy, especially in tourism and trucks servicing agricultural, logging and cattle industries in the Boyne Valley.
"This is the original road when they first put bitumen down so it's been here for quite a while," Mr Butcher said.
"This road was in my electorate and I've been advocating since 2015 to get this road done.
"This upgrade is not only for safe access but there's so much happening in this area and we want to make sure people who use this road are kept safe.
"This $1.7m announcement will fix this problem and it means we'll basically have two lanes from Calliope all the way through to the Many Peaks Hotel."
With the Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail project gathering steam, Mr Butcher said fixing the section of road would greatly benefit tourism.
"Those rail trails all over Australia, when they make them happen, the tourists just flock to those areas," he said.
"So if we can have this ready for that traffic, and events like the Boyne Valley Country Music Campout, it's the last piece of the puzzle for Gladstone Monto Rd.
"I know there's some issues at the top end of the road that people have concerns over but this (upgrade) was one of the things I promised this area when it was in my electorate."
The road widening is expected to be open to traffic in April, weather permitting.
Drivers are urged to be patient and drive safely through the roadworks site.
Speed restrictions and traffic control will be in place to ensure the safety of road users and workers.
Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett said the widening works had the support of council and local residents.
"During the past 12 months, the most common feedback from the Boyne Valley community has been the need for improved connectivity, with the single-lane section south of Nagoorin a priority," Cr Burnett said.
"Council has been awarded the construction contract and we have accelerated the availability of resources to ensure the widening works begin this month."