Brad Garard's death wasn't in vain.
Brad Garard's death wasn't in vain.

$1.8m for Kybong Matilda upgrade

BRAD Garard’s death was not in vain.

Work to make the killer intersection, where he was killed, safer is expected to start next week, with surveyors on site planning how $1.8 million of Federal money will be spent to provide a dedicated left turning lane into the Kybong Matilda service station.

Shortly after the tragedy, Brad’s mother Lesley Carlson told The Gympie Times she didn’t want her son’s death to be in vain and appealed for something to be done to make the Matilda Service Station’s Bruce Highway access safer.

Brad, 19, was killed as he pulled onto the Bruce Highway out of the Matilda service station into the path of an oncoming truck on May 2.

After the Coles Creek teen’s death his family called for the service station’s north-bound entry to be moved further south in order to reduce traffic passing through the intersection that claimed his life.

And in a surprise announcement at a Gympie Regional Council committee meeting yesterday, the Department of Transport and Main Roads Gympie District Director Lawry O’Brien said the Federal Government had given them $1.8 million for the works.

The money will provide a designated left turn facility into the service station so vehicles entering don’t obstruct the view of traffic trying to exit.

Mr O’Brien said surveyors would be on-site next week to start the planning and the project would be up and running quickly.

The news is music to Brendan Blatchly’s ears as the safety campaigner was set to call in his truck driver mates for a blockade to bring more attention to the issue.

When Mr Blatchly first read in The Gympie Times people were crying out for something to be done about the intersection, the truck driver said he knew there was an issue there and he was “hell bent on rectifying it”.

Mr Blatchly walked up and down Mary Street in Gympie collecting signatures on a petition calling for work at the service station and even forked out $800 of his own money for crash scene information.

He said he wasn’t going to rest until visibility at the intersection was improved.

Busses turning into the Matilda can block the view of trucks travelling north, he said, making exiting the servo dangerous.

Mr Blatchly is definitely happy to hear that something is now being done.

“I was pretty impressed, its not very often you see politicians getting behind truck drivers,” he said yesterday.

“It was a lot of hard work.”

The Department of Transport and Main Roads said more information would be released in the next few days.

Mrs Carlson was unable to be contacted for comment yesterday and is unaware of the decision.

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