REVEALED: The unforseeable cause of $17m Bruce Hway fail
THE Queensland Transport and Main Roads Department says the pavement failings plaguing a recently completed multi-million dollar upgrade of the Bruce Highway at Chatsworth were caused by the original underlying highway pavement and would be permanently repaired.
It was a problem that could not have been forseen, a TMR spokesman said.
The roadworks were carried out on a 4.7km stretch of highway at Chatsworth, on the northern outskirts of Gympie, where $17.75 million was spent upgrading dedicated turning lanes at Fleming Rd, the McCullough and Benson roads intersection, Robert Rd, Vantage Rd, the Reynolds and Rammutt roads intersection, Fishermans Pocket Rd, the Fraser and Fritz roads intersection, and the service road at the access near Irvine Rd.
Residents have complained that just weeks after completion, sections of the pavement began to fail.
"The Bruce Highway Upgrade Program is the largest road infrastructure program Queensland has ever seen," the TMR spokesman said on Thuresday.
"This includes improvements to enhance the safety of the highway to reduce the risk of fatal and serious injury crashes so it is safe for all road users.
"The road surface issues on the recent Bruce Highway upgrade at Chatsworth relate to the original underlying pavement and could not have been picked up before or during construction.
"We are planning permanent repairs and prioritising areas which need immediate attention to ensure road users remain safe.
"These safety works will be completed at night where possible to reduce impact on traffic."
A MULTI-MILLION dollar upgrade to the Bruce Highway heading north through a rural residential corridor near Gympie has been branded dodgy and unsafe by local residents and Gympie MP Tony Perrett, who says he has fielded numerous complaints since it was finished late last year.
The roadworks were carried out on a 4.7km stretch of highway at Chatsworth, where $17.75 million was spent upgrading dedicated turning lanes at Fleming Rd, the McCullough and Benson roads intersection, Robert Rd, Vantage Rd, the Reynolds and Rammutt roads intersection, Fishermans Pocket Rd, the Fraser and Fritz roads intersection, and the service road at the access near Irvine Rd.
Mr Perrett said the safety improvements appeared to have be an "absolute failure" in some instances and would probably need to be redone.
"The State can't keep digging this up - it's part of the National Highway," Mr Perrett said.
"You can't afford to not do things right. If this was the private sector, they would have gone bust years ago."
Mr Perrett said "the appalling condition of this stretch of road is just another in a growing list of complaints about state-controlled roads. Road maintenance by the State Government is seriously underfunded".
MORE BRUCE HIGHWAY NEWS:
A maintenance backlog meant DTMR would have to reprioritise works to address safety-related defects on its network at the expense of works to renew its assets, he said
"This just highlights the latest issues raised about roads such as the Mary Valley Highway.
"The Minister should know.
"I've written to him recently about the state of work on the Bruce Highway as well numerous times raised with him, DTMR and in pre-Budget submission the condition of other state controlled roads."
Mr Perrett said he had contacted the DTMR. A number of sections had already been repaired.
He has now also written to Transport Minister Mark Bailey seeking answers, saying some of the works were only completed in November 2019.
"I don't know who the contractors were but these failings are not acceptable," Mr Perrett said.
"People are appalled that Transport and Main Roads cannot construct a highway that lasts more than six months.
A most recent complaint from a local resident said the worst section was between the Woodworks Museum and Chatsworth Park.
"For the most part of 2019, traffic was hindered by roadworks along the Bruce Hwy, from the area around Chatsworth School down to the oval near the Gympie Woodworks museum," it said.
"Whilst it was an inconvenience, most of us were happy to put up with it, as we were off the opinion that we would have a much better piece of road to travel on, each time we went to Gympie or areas further south or east.
"Imagine our surprise when only a matter or weeks after the road was 'completed and opened to the public', we travelled along it and found any number of sections where it was beginning to fail miserably.
"From that time there has been numerous patching jobs done on it and it seems no matter how many patches are done, the pavement seems to continue to fail in numerous places.
"We can only count our lucky stars that there hasn't been horrific traffic accidents on this section of road, caused by the pavement failures, especially to motorcyclists.
"The signed speed limit along that section is 90 kph and some of the failures would throw a motorcycle completely off the surface should they hit it at that speed.
"Therefore, I am writing this letter to you, in the hope that you can convey to this inept Queensland Govt, that they always shout from the rooftops that they put Queensland companies first - aren't Hazel Brothers a Tasmanian company- and they don't like wasting money. Hopefully there was some sort of time warranty on the job? Alternatively, if the road was designed and supervised by Queensland Govt engineers, then surely their qualifications should be queried because this road is both unsound and unsafe.