State silent on stalled fix of deadliest Gympie intersection
THE on again off again upgrade of a notorious Gympie intersection shows that the State
Transport Minister has no idea what he is doing, Gympie MP Tony Perrett said yesterday.
Mr Perrett asked the Minister a Parliamentary question about completion of design works and construction start date of the Bell’s Bridge intersection of the Bruce and Wide Bay Highways.
“This week’s response said that design of a roundabout ‘is being finalised’, ‘tenders are expected to be sought in coming months’, and ‘construction is scheduled to commence later this year, weather permitting’, Mr Perrett said.
“It’s pathetic and full of weasel words.
“The language is as loose as can be.
“In January last year the Minister advised that investigations on an updated design were well underway.
“That’s 17 months ago.
“If the design had been going on then and it’s still not finished, it makes you wonder how long does it take to design an intersection?
“Otherwise last year’s advice was a cynical manipulative fob off.
“The department is incompetent, or the Minister is incompetent.
“This upgrade should have been completed by now.
“New design works was the last excuse to put off construction.
“The Federal committed $11.2 million of its share of the $14 million project in May 2017, more than three years ago.
“The money’s been sitting there for three years!
“All the state had to do was find its $2.8 million share to get the job done.
“A month later, on Budget Day in June 2017 the Minister advised that construction would start in late 2018.
“Two hours after receiving that letter the Departments’ Budget showed no specific allocation for the intersection upgrade meaning it would have to compete with every other road infrastructure project from here to Bundaberg.
“In those documents funding was pushed out four years to 2021-2022.
“They clearly never had the money and were trying to spin everyone along.
“The design still isn’t finished, they haven’t called tenders, no one has a contract, and construction will start by the end of this year, weather permitting.
“There should be no ‘get out of jail for free’ excuses.
“This has been a complete stuff up.
“If the Minister knew what he was doing it would have been finished more than 12 months ago.
“I always receive complaints about the intersection, about near misses, accidents, frustrated drivers taking risky action, traffic banking up, and not stopping.
“We will be lucky if this is completed by the end of next year.
“This is just spinning something that should have been completed by now.