Mary Valley bridge plans

GYMPIE Regional Council and the Save the Mary River Co-ordinating Group will be lodging potentially conflicting submissions with Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett, over plans for a new high level bridge across the river at Traveston Crossing.

Works and Services Committee chairman Larry Friske told yesterday's council general meeting.

With submissions closing today, Cr Friske told fellow councillors he did not agree with the SMRCGs concerns, saying that the proposed bridge would provide important relief for dangerous traffic problems at the current Bruce Highway intersection with Traveston Crossing Road, replacing the intersection with roundabouts as part of an interchange to provide access on and off the highway.

It would eliminate the difficult hilly country of the current route as well as improving intersection safety and would allow vital B-Double access to the Mary Valley.

This would bring important economic benefits, including for the forestry and farming sectors.

“The sawmills can't compete without B-Double access and what is the Mary Valley economically without its timber industry?” Cr Friske said outside the meeting.

“This is a bridge that council has been seeking for some time to give larger vehicles access to the Mary Valley, with significant economic benefits,” he told the meeting.

“I accept that the environmental side needs to be looked at carefully but I think council should be sending a letter to (Federal Environment Minister) Peter Garrett (who is assessing the proposal under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, the same law which enabled him to reject the Traveston Crossing dam proposal last year).

SMRCG president Glenda Pickersgill said yesterday that the group was concerned about “the high environmental risks and potential impacts of the proposed new crossing of the Mary River, approximately 1.8km upstream of the existing Traveston Crossing, and the new crossing of Coles Creek, approximately 0.5km upstream from the Coles Creek-Mary River confluence.”

She said the group was also concerned about its proximity to Traveston Creek because of claimed dust and water pollution problems with the current Bruce Highway by-pass project nearby.

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