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Truss and Gibson trade blame on highway

A PROPOSED short-term solution to save lives on the Bruce Hwy south of Gympie met with more buck passing from Federal Infrastructure Minister, and Member for Wide Bay, Warren Truss yesterday.

Gympie Regional Councillor and Gympie's top ambulance officer, Wayne Sachs, wants the notorious stretch of highway at the Gold Nugget service station upgraded like the highway at the Matilda service station further south, to reduce the road toll while the Cooroy to Curra bypass is finished.

"I want to see the section at the Gold Nugget where those deaths occurred recently upgraded like it was upgraded at the Matilda where there was a slip lane put in," Cr Sachs said.

"We've had an amazing result out at Matilda."

The council unanimously voted this week to arrange an urgent meeting with Mr Truss to fast-track the highway upgrade.

Cr Sachs wants Sections C and D completed together and ahead of the current timetable, so more lives are not lost.

He hopes the council can put its case to Mr Truss within the next few weeks.

"I'm going to be really firm with him," Cr Sachs told the ABC yesterday.

"He was not only the local member; he was the federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister in the Howard government.

"There was no action. Labor came in and within months this highway was started.

"Now he's again the Infrastructure Minister and Transport Minister and the Deputy PM and still our Member."

State Member for Gympie David Gibson said the State Government had done its part with the 20-year Bruce Hwy Upgrade Strategy document, but that construction of Sections C and D still required funding from the Federal Government to proceed "which is sadly lacking".

"It is not good enough to be a loud voice in opposition calling for action and then to find every excuse when in government not to act," Mr Gibson said.

Mr Truss said he wanted the bypass completed as soon as possible.

"On election to government in 2013, I acted immediately to speed up and bring forward Federal funding for the Cooroy to Curra project," he said.

"I sought an early completion of the design of Section C and I understand this work will be completed soon.

"Section D... will be constructed as a separate project because it is an entirely new road. It follows a new route and will not intersect the existing highway between its exit and entry points just south of Gympie and at Curra."

Mr Truss said his government would consider any advice from the State Government on how to improve safety at the Gold Nugget.

"The Queensland Government is responsible for assessing risks and making recommendations to the Federal Government regarding safety improvement such as turning lanes," he said.

Topics:  bruce highway david gibson road safety warren truss

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