Minister Anthony Albanese and Gympie ambulance officer Wayne Sachs turned the first sod on the new highway.
Minister Anthony Albanese and Gympie ambulance officer Wayne Sachs turned the first sod on the new highway. Craig Warhurst

Squabble over road upgrade

ACCORDING to Federal Labor Government they have been moving mountains on the Cooroy to Curra Bruce Highway upgrade – enough to fill 2000 Olympic swimming pools.

Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said last week construction workers removed more than five million cubic metres of earth to complete the bulk earthworks.

And as a follow-on from last month’s opening of two kilometres of new highway between Middle Creek Road and Sankeys Road, the way is now clear to begin the remaining 10 kilometres of new road.

But Opposition transport spokesman and local member for Wide Bay Warren Truss has accused Labor of dragging the chain on the overall highway upgrade.

“While the highway has been the subject of ongoing improvement over the decades, rapid traffic growth has left the highway inadequate for current requirements,” Mr Truss said.

“In my electorate alone there have been more than 50 fatalities and 300 people admitted to hospital since 2000 as a result of accidents along the dangerous Cooroy to Curra section of the highway.”

Mr Truss said the RACQ had found the Cooroy to Curra section was the worst stretch of the national highway in Queensland, but the State and Federal Labor Governments had failed to commit to upgrading the remaining 50 kilometres to four-lane standard.

“The time for blame and point-scoring has long past, it’s time to get real and take action,” he said.

“The community knows it, the government knows it and Mr Albanese knows it. The government must get serious and announce a commitment to fund a full program of works to improve the safety and increase the capacity of the highway.”

Mr Truss said at the last election, the Coalition announced a range of projects on the Bruce Highway, including the full upgrade of the Cooroy to Curra section by 2020.

Mr Albanese said: “The fact both these major contracts were completed on time and on budget is confirmation that the entire project is on track to be completed in 2012.

“When it comes to infrastructure, Labor means what says and delivers what it promises.”

The realignment and duplication of the Bruce Highway between Sankeys Road and Traveston Road is a jointly funded project, with the Gillard Labor Government contributing $488 million and the Bligh Labor Government a further $125 million.

Queensland Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace said the planned works would create a divided carriageway to separate oncoming traffic, reducing the risk of head-on collisions.

“Once completed in 2012, this section of highway will provide safer driving conditions with wider shoulders, emergency stopping bays and intelligent transport systems such as speed-activated variable message signs,” he said.


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