The Bruce Highway has been repeatedly cut at places like Gympie.
The Bruce Highway has been repeatedly cut at places like Gympie. Renee Pilcher

A $1 billion pledge for Sydney roads but Bruce Hwy left out

MAIN Roads Minister Scott Emerson has taken a swipe at the Prime Minister for looking after the traffic issues in Western Sydney ahead of the dozens of lives lost on the Bruce Highway each year.

He said Julia Gillard had also ignored the vulnerability of the 1677km lifeline for Queensland which was again highlighted during frequent heavy rains this year.

Mr Emerson said the Federal Government had pledged $1 billion to the Western Sydney motorway network as part of its election commitment.

But the Federal Government says it has simply asked the NSW government to devise a plan to deal with the area's traffic congestion before they would commit funding.

"The Bruce Highway is a critical issue for Queenslanders which is why we committed an additional $1 billion over the next 10 years provided the Federal Government also brings forward their $4 billion as part of the historic 80/20 split for this national highway," Mr Emerson said.

"The investment is not about politics, it is about protecting the lives of all who travel on this 1677km lifeline for Queensland.

"Recent heavy rains have again highlighted the vulnerability of the Bruce Highway, with several sections cut either side of Gympie which stopped all traffic in either direction.

"The RACQ have also gone on the record saying if immediate action was not taken on the Bruce Highway, up to 400 people would die on that stretch of road over the next 10 years."

Mr Emerson said engineers had devised the Bruce Highway Action Plan to provide a safer, more reliable and flood-immune Bruce Highway.

But he said the project needed Federal Government funding to get off the ground.

"Ms Gillard needs to commit to the safety of Queensland motorists, not just look after her own political fortunes," he said.

A spokesman for Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said the Federal Government as recently as December announced a $400 million Bruce Hwy upgrade for a section of the road running through Nationals Leader Warren Truss's Wide Bay electorate.

Last week, Ms Gillard failed to mention the people of Gympie when handing out flood relief.

She said she would be happy to receive a relief proposal.

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