Looking back at the long fight to fix the Bruce Highway
CUTTING through the heart of the region, the Bruce Highway is a key part of the region - and the safety of the road was a recurrent theme in The Gympie Times over the past eight years.
"Black Spot Fix is a Dismal Failure” was the headline to grace The Gympie Times' front cover on August 10, 2010, with residents frustrated that a $500,000 safety fix at the Wide Bay/Bruce Highway intersection "hasn't improved it one iota”.
In 2011 we shared that the Cooroy-to-Gympie section of the Bruce Highway was labelled "Queensland's worst”.
"A damning report from the RACQ says you are more likely to injure yourself on this section of the state's national highway than any other, yet there is still no funding commitment to complete the Gympie bypass.”
Later in the year (on September 7), the plea was again put forth to "Upgrade Now”, with councillors calling for a new timeline for the upgrades to make the road as safe as possible.
And on September 16, Mayor Ron Dyne blasted the State Government's proposed 20-year timetable for the upgrades as "totally unacceptable”.
It was easy to see why.
"Crash Deja Vu: Woman critical after crash on highway” (November 12 2010); "Driver Trapped” (February 9 2011); "Life Taken: Young woman killed” (September 8 2011): "Horror Smash Claims Man, 51” (August 18 2012): These were just a handful of front page horrors from the start of the decade.
Good news was delivered in 2013 when Wide Bay MP Warren Truss promised $1.9 billion if they LNP was elected, and that the Bruce Highway would be four lanes from Brisbane to Gympie within 10 years.
Despite the promise, in 2014 it was reported that Section D of the upgrade had been "put on the back burner” - an idea which did not sit well with Councillor Wayne Sachs.
"I propose we escalate the development of Section C and D and that they be constructed at the same time because, quite frankly, I don't believe we can wait 20 years to get the whole thing done,” Cr Sachs said.
Section was eventually opened 12 months ahead of schedule in November last year, and in April this year the $ 1 billion missing link of the bypass, Section D, was fast-tracked with hopes that the stretch will be open in three years time and lead to the northern highway being next.