REAL hope may be emerging a solution will be found to planning issues that have bedevilled proposed Bruce Hwy upgrades between a new Caloundra Rd interchange and Sippy Downs.
In a rare moment of candour in the often confected conflict between political opponents Caloundra MP Mark McArdle has come away from a meeting with residents and the Main Roads Minister about retention of Exit 190 at Palmview, declaring Labor's Mark Bailey to be a "genuine bloke".
Mr McArdle, the Water and Energy Minister in the former LNP Government, said Mr Bailey had responded positively after he was asked to meet Exit 190 campaigners and had spoken openly and listened intently while he was at the meeting.
He said the Minister's concerns had been about traffic volumes and highway safety.
But Mr McArdle said Mr Bailey had committed to consider not only the Exit 190 proposition that it not be closed as part of a $1 billion upgrade, but also that an amended design completed for the Save Steve Irwin Way Forest group would be carefully considered.
"I can work with him any time," Mr McArdle said.
"Politics can become caught up in the 24 hour news cycle but the Minister has shown he's prepared to work to the issues."
He said Mr Bailey had not said "no" to either group and had offered no guarantees, but had left some hope.
"If the Beerwah State Forest impact shrinks, that will have a positive impact on the exit," Mr McArdle said.
Exit 190 spokesman Mike Doroshenko said the meeting with the two politicians had been a pleasure for all involved.
"We were very pleased that the Minister has taken the time to visit Exit 190 and allowed us to discuss our concerns directly with him, as well as other dignitaries," Mr Doroshenko said.
"We were joined by other officials from the Department of Transport and Main Roads, who also listened to us outline alternatives, community feedback, what we hope to achieve, and the process moving forward.
"We were assured by the Minister that our concerns in keeping Exit 190 will be part of the process in moving forward."
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