Gympie Regional Mayor Ron Dyne.
Gympie Regional Mayor Ron Dyne.

Dyne delivers Matilda plan

SAFETY and visibility could be improved at the Matilda intersection at Kybong, with a redesign estimated to cost $1.7 million, Gympie Mayor Ron Dyne said yesterday.

In Canberra for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Council of Local Governments, Cr Dyne took the Matilda issue to a meeting at the office of Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese.

He also took an 800-signature petition gathered in Gympie by truck drivers and safety campaigners Michael Hogg and Brendan Blatchly, which called for urgent redesigning of the intersection, where visibility issues last month are thought to have led to the death of nearby resident and 19-year-old Coles Creek P-plate driver Brad Garard.

Despite close calls and many non-fatal or non-injury accidents in the area, the intersection had been fatality-free since earlier deaths led to a reduction of the speed limit to 80kmh.

Mr Garard was killed on Sunday, May 2, when he pulled out of the Matilda service station, into the path of a passing truck.

His death has prompted renewed calls for a redesign of the intersection, further lowering of the speed limit and even traffic lights, and has led to questions about whether the service station should have been allowed to be built there in the first place.

It also prompted Mr Blatchly, a truck driver who says he spends most of his life driving on the Bruce Highway, to do something about it, in association with fellow driver and trucking industry blogger Mr Hogg.

They also enlisted the support of the Transport Workers Union, which represents thousands of truck drivers throughout Queensland.

State secretary Hughie Williams said the accident rate was proof enough of “something wrong with the way trucks and other vehicles drive into and out of the Matilda service station”.

Cr Dyne left Mr Albanese with a copy of the petition and of suggested Main Roads Department design changes.

These would have “an indicative cost” of $1.7 million,” Cr Dyne said.

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