Garard's death sparked upgrade

AN independent investigation following Brad Garard’s death was the catalyst that bought forward funding to improve the Matilda Service Station intersection along the notorious Bruce Highway, a Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesperson has revealed.

At a Gympie Regional Council meeting on Tuesday Department of Transport and Main Roads Gympie District Director Lawry O’Brien said $1.8 million had been secured for the upgrade and surveyors would be on-site at Kybong next week.

A departmental spokesperson said Tuesday night it was standard practice for the department to commission an investigation after a fatality occurred on a state-controlled road.

Brad Garard had only lived 19 years when his life was taken in a tragic accident that may have been preventable had visibility been improved at the busy service station.

Now his death was not in vain as the Federal Government has gotten behind the community and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) which has cried out for something to be done at the site to improve safety.

TWU Queensland State Secretary Hughie Williams said the intersection would still be very busy yesterday, but the news of new safety measures was “great stuff.”

“We put a fair bit of effort up there (to get something done),” he said.

Acknowledging a lot of people had got behind the project, Mr Williams said he was reading one of the stories The Gympie Times had previously published on Tuesday night and thinking he would come back to make sure the intersection was made safer.

“We intended to put a blockage up there,” he said.

“The independent report recommended safety could be improved by separating the northbound traffic that turns left into the Matilda service station from traffic that continues north through the intersection,” the departmental spokesperson said.

“As the Queensland Government maintains the Bruce Highway on behalf of the Federal Government, the department requested funding under the Federal Government’s Building Australia Program Safety Improvements (BAPSI) initiative to improve safety at the intersection. This funding request has been approved. Timeframes for the start of the safety works will be finalised in the coming weeks.”

Gympie Times

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