The RACQ is calling on the Federal Government to ensure Tuesday’s Budget includes funding for upgrades to Queensland’s national highways to improve flood immunity and lift safety standards.
RACQ Executive General Manager Paul Turner said investment in Queensland’s national highway infrastructure was primarily a Federal Government responsibility, essential to the protection of motorists and growth of the state’s economy.
“Healthy investment in road infrastructure that improves flood immunity and eases congestion enables vehicles and freight to move efficiently, which reduces travel times and vehicle operating costs, leading to greater productivity,” Mr Turner said.
“Every time a major road is closed due to flooding, business and productivity suffers due to lengthy delays, which impact on Queensland’s economy. The Bruce Highway has been cut by floods and closed 530 times between January 2009 and March 2011. This is an unacceptable standard for Queensland’s major freight route.”
Mr Turner said road safety continued to be a key issue for Queensland motorists, whose lives were at risk on some the most dangerous stretches of national highway in Australia – particularly the Bruce.
“The latest Australian Road Assessment Program (AusRAP) national report revealed that the Bruce Highway accounts for one in six deaths that occur on the national highway network,” Mr Turner said.
“We want the Federal Government to commit the necessary funding to upgrade Queensland’s national highways to a minimum four-star AusRAP safety rating, with improved flood immunity.
“For too long Queensland motorists have been putting their lives at risk on our major highways while also bearing the costs of delays caused by frequent road closures.”
Mr Turner said RACQ was represented by its President Geoff Leddy on the State Government’s new Bruce Highway Crisis Management Group, which would identify priority upgrades that required Federal Government funding.
“RACQ also wants the Federal Government to commit the necessary funds for urban transport projects in south-east Queensland, for example, the Cross River Rail and Gateway Motorway North projects,” Mr Turner said.
RACQ’s top priorities for upgrades that require Federal Government funding are:
- Bruce Highway – Cooroy to Curra Sections A,C and D, including Gympie Bypass, to address safety, capacity and flood immunity
- Bruce Highway – Yeppen Floodplain at Rockhampton, upgrade to improve flood immunity, freight efficiency and capacity
- Warrego Highway – construct second Toowoomba Range Crossing to address capacity and safety
- Gateway Motorway North – Nudgee to Bruce Hwy, additional lanes
- Pacific Motorway – Nerang to Tugun, additional lanes
- Warrego Highway – Toowoomba to Miles, additional overtaking lanes and rehabilitate and strengthen pavement to address safety, capacity and flood immunity
- Bruce Highway – southern approach to Cairns, upgrade to improve capacity, safety and flood immunity
- Bruce Highway – Sarina to Mackay, additional overtaking lanes and ultimately duplicate to address safety and capacity
- Cross River Rail – Brisbane.