Concern for everyone: Trucking website operator Michael Hogg, Roadcraft’s Peter Leupold and concerned truckie Brendan Blatchly at Roadcraft this week.
Concern for everyone: Trucking website operator Michael Hogg, Roadcraft’s Peter Leupold and concerned truckie Brendan Blatchly at Roadcraft this week. Craig Warhurst

Matilda at Kybong to be redesigned

SUNSHINE Coast Regional Mayor Bob Abbot will be invited to join a Gympie Regional Council delegation to Canberra to seek urgent action to redesign the Matilda intersection at Kybong, where a young man lost his life earlier this month.

And Gympie’s Roadcraft Driver Education Centre is considering using a video of traffic behaviour at the intersection as a training tool for young drivers and motorcyclists, as well as truck drivers.

Truck driver and volunteer road safety campaigner Brendan Blatchly says he continues to be overwhelmed with the response to his “fix it now” petition about the intersection.

He and trucking website operator Michael Hogg have joined forces to drive the petition, and met this week with Roadcraft executive Peter Leupold.

Mr Hogg said the truck driver involved in the accident “did a fantastic job to pull up where he did”, but said this would not have saved anyone driving south through the intersection at the time.

Mr Blatchly, who obtained 350 signatures just walking down one side of Mary Street on Monday, said he now hoped to be able to present “at least 1000” to give Mayor Ron Dyne “ammunition when he goes to Canberra in June to seek funds”.

“Drivers have to realise that it takes a lot more to pull up a truck than a car,” he said. “The average weight of a B-double is 45 Corollas or 35 Commodores.

“To put it in a different perspective, think of playing football with you alone on one side and 45 people your size on the other.

“We don’t want people dying on the road. I think we’d all agree on that,” Mr Blatchly said.

“We need a revision of the intersection so we can see if it needs attention and, if so, what can be done.

“We all feel there is nothing we can do, but as I discovered to my surprise in Gympie, people are very concerned. We now have the chance to do something.

“We don’t want to be insensitive to the suffering of a grieving family and we don’t want a public lynching of anyone with a different view.

“We just want to get something done,” he said.

Mr Hogg said it was necessary to get the message through to Main Roads and the Federal Government.

“If nothing happens, it might be five or six weeks, it might be longer or it could be tomorrow, but someone else will be killed or maimed.

“We’re making a video of the intersection, to try to capture in motion the sequence of photographs (taken by The Gympie Times photographer Craig Warhurst and published on May 5).”

The photographs show a blue northbound vehicle becoming visible only at the last second, after being completely hidden by a red car in the northbound turn-off lane.

Mr Leupold said the video would give exact seconds, demonstrating how dangers can emerge on the roads much quicker than human reaction time.

“It can be shown to kids learning to drive safely and defensively and it can be shown to truckies – to everyone.

“Even if it means drivers take their foot off the accelerator and have it ready over the brake pedal, to save that second of reaction time.”

Cr Dyne told this week’s general meeting of council that the deputation was hopefully likely to meet with Mr Albanese in June to discuss both the Bruce Highway re-routing project and the Matilda intersection.

“I’ve had discussions with Main Roads in Gympie regarding Matilda and the plan being developed for the highway.

“That plan will be taken to (Minister for Transport Anthony) Albanese regarding funding,” he said.

Cr Ian Petersen successfully suggested that Mayor Abbot be invited to join the contingent.

“He’s been making strong representations regarding the upgrading of the highway,” he said.

Gympie Times


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