Politicians see best and worst of hwy
AUSTRALIA'S political sphere has gained a first-hand insight into the state's most dangerous highway complete with pot hole run-ins and wet weather navigation on flood prone stretches.
Six federal MPs and four Queensland MPs joined a five-day tour of the Bruce Highway from Brisbane to Cairns this week.
The Bruce Highway Task Force, spearheaded by Wide Bay MP Warren Truss, saw the problematic arterial road at its best and worst.
A tyre on one of the cars carrying the politicians blew after hitting a huge pothole, bringing home the urgent message for an upgrade to parts of the Bruce Highway.
"We experienced the highway at its good times and its not so good times," Mr Truss said.
"There are a lot of potholes in some sections in Central Queensland and in some places, there is clearly a need to upgrade the whole surface."
The MPs also braved the highway over a day and a half of relentless rain which highlighted the flood prone areas near Rockhampton.
Last year's historic deluge in January led to severe flooding on the Yeppen Flood Plain and cut the state in half.
Mr Truss, who lives on the Bruce Highway in his electorate, said governments needed to better equip the people of Rockhampton, and every other Queensland north of the regional city, to access the major road.
From the five-day tour, Mr Truss said the priorities were the economic efficiency of the road, addressing the 33 locations prone to flood inundation and high risk crash locations.
"The reality is the volume of traffic on the roads has to be greater than anyone could have anticipated decades ago," he said.
"One in six crashes (on Australia's road network) occur on the Bruce Highway and that is an unacceptable statistic and one that has to be addressed," he said.
Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said Mr Truss's "convoy of deception" did not erase the fact he didn't fund the highway as Transport Minister under the Howard Government.
The Queensland Government has committed $1 billion to the highway's upgrade over 10 years on the basis the Federal Government increases their contribution.