DRONE: The Bruce Highway upgrade of Caloundra Road overpass. Flynn MP Ken O’Dowd said the highway in our patch needed to be upgraded to dual carriageway to prevent the serious truck crashes we saw earlier this month. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.
DRONE: The Bruce Highway upgrade of Caloundra Road overpass. Flynn MP Ken O’Dowd said the highway in our patch needed to be upgraded to dual carriageway to prevent the serious truck crashes we saw earlier this month. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.

Bruce Highway must be dual carriageway: O’Dowd

UPGRADING the Bruce Highway to dual carriageway is the only way to try and prevent horrific truck crashes like the two on the highway this month, says Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd.

Mr O'Dowd said under the federal government's key infrastructure upgrade projects, $10.8b has been allocated to upgrade the Bruce Highway between 2013 and 2028.

He said the Bruce Highway was almost 1700km long, and carried the largest volume of traffic in the state north from Brisbane, so upgrading the entire length was a massive project.

Current projects locally, Mr O'Dowd said, included the $46.1m upgrade from Benaraby to Calliope River, $21m upgrade between Calliope and Mt Larcom, $9.15m upgrade at Bobs Creek and Moglino Road south of Rockhampton.

"I have seen a gradual improvement over my time in parliament but it does need a lot of improvement on a year to year basis," he said.

"There is more traffic on the Bruce Highway travelling from Brisbane to Cairns.

"The projects on the Bruce Highway are starting from the south and moving north."

A divided dual carriageway, comprising of two lanes north and two lanes south, separated by a safe distance, Mr O'Dowd said, would extend to Gympie with the completion of the $1b Gympie bypass, expected to be completed in 2025.

Mr O'Dowd said other factors including fog and smoke also played a part in this month's two serious truck crashes at Granite Creek, south of Miriam Vale.

"Rockhampton will have a ring road around the city, which will be good for people coming off the Capricorn Highway, people from Gracemere and people from the west," he said.

"Another ring road will go around Mackay, so there is work being done, and a lot of work has been done on the maintenance."

Getting the job done right, Mr O'Dowd said, initially was important.

"The specifications of the laying of the bitumen on some of our roads is substandard, because it doesn't last that long," he said.

Some sections of the highway between Gladstone and Rockhampton and Rockhampton and Gin Gin have been done about three or four times."

In addition, an 80:20 ratio of federal to state funding is also contributing to the $100m Gladstone Port Access Road extension, $14.2m Dawson Highway upgrade, $20.4m Gladstone Benaraby Road upgrade and the $20 million Philip Street duplication.

As Gladstone is already bypassed by the Bruce Highway, the challenge is getting the local sections of the road upgraded.

"We are putting in more passing lanes," Mr O'Dowd said.

"But until we get a four-lane dual carriageway from Brisbane to Cairns, we are going to continue to see these serious crashes.

"That's on my agenda and that's on the governments agenda as well."