Danger Zone: Christmas crashes raise Bruce Hwy concerns
TWO serious road crashes on the Bruce Highway between Gladstone and Rockhampton in the Christmas period have renewed questions about the need for the road to be upgraded to four lanes.
However Flynn MP, Ken O'Dowd says it's his policy to fix the road to a standard that can sustain a 110kph speed limit in 10 years.
"People will say there are too many black spots, but I say let's fix the black spots to fix the standard to take it to 110," he said yesterday.
There were delays of five hours on December 18 when a car and fuel tanker carrying 28,000L of fuel collided near Marmor.
The road was also blocked with one lane closed for more than three hours on Christmas Day when a car rolled about 1km north of Bajool, spilling 200L of diesel onto the road, creating Christmas Day havoc.
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.
Heavy vehicles accounted for 30% and 21% of the respective totals.
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 Observer was told a duplication wouldn't be needed for 20 to 30 years.
Flynn MP, Ken O'Dowd said while there were a lot of stretches between Gympie and Cairns that required four lanes, "it will come".
"We're already working on bridges and changes at Marmor, but people still have to put up with a single highway with passing lanes.
"We need to keep putting in passing lanes and just go that extra hog."
"My policy, and I've put it to the transport minister, is I'd like to see a 110kph speed limit from Brisbane to Cairns," he said.
While there's few who doubt the need for four lanes, especially considering the large number of heavy vehicles, the issue is money.
Mr O'Dowd readily acknowledges the fact but says if work continues on the Gladstone to Rockhampton stretch he expects the road to reach 110kph standard in 10 years.
"The Department of Transport and Main Roads considers it a safe highway now, and it's safer than it was," he said.
"We're spending $32 million on upgrades and we've announced quite a few million dollars for safety signs between Brisbane and Cairns."