AFTER a slight hesitation, Queensland's new Labor State Government confirmed yesterday it would honour the previous government's commitment to fast-track the $26.5 million upgrade of the Bruce Hwy death stretch south of Gympie.
New Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said yesterday tenders "would soon be released" for construction of the planned safety works on the Bruce Hwy south of Gympie, including improvements to the Keefton Rd intersection and the Gold Nugget service station access.
"Further intersection works at Venardos Avenue and the Six Mile Creek rest area will also be carried out," Mr Bailey said.
Construction was supposed to start on the notorious black spot this month, with tenders scheduled for January.
But with still no sign of movement last week, concerned Gympie MP Tony Perrett asked Mr Bailey to reconfirm the commitment to funding and to continuing works on Section C of the Cooroy to Curra bypass.
"(Last week) I asked the Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports and Minister for Energy and Water Supply, Hon Mark Bailey, a Question on Notice to reconfirm the previous government's commitment to funding and continuing works on Section C of the Bruce Hwy upgrade," Mr Perrett said.
"I am concerned about reports that promised work to upgrade the notorious 8.4km stretch had been scrapped by the new Queensland Labor Government.
"Budget savings meant that the $26.5 million upgrade outside the Golden Nugget service station had been brought forward by 12 months.
"This is a vital piece of safety infrastructure for our region as this section of the Bruce Hwy is a notorious black spot.
"From 2000 to 2010 there were 82 crashes along this section, involving seven fatalities.
"These tragic statistics represent an average of a crash every six weeks which underlines the importance of getting on and fixing this section of the highway," Mr Perrett said.
He said works that include widening and establishing new medians will provide a higher level of safety for all motorists.
The Federal Government will contribute 80% funding, or $21.2 million, and the Queensland Labor Government responsible for 20% or $5.3 million towards the project.
"This project will be permanently integrated with future works which will take place as part of the Cooroy to Curra upgrade," Mr Perrett said.
"I will be holding the State Government accountable to honouring this vital project and other commitments to this region," he said.
Mr Bailey's office was unable to confirm yesterday that the fast-tracking of Section C would go ahead.