O’Brien demands Labor abandon Tiaro Bruce Hwy ‘death trap’
MAVERICK Wide Bay MP Llew O’Brien has continued his criticism of a proposed two-lane Bruce Highway bypass at Tiaro, this time taking aim at the Queensland Government over the “fatally flawed” design.
The former police road crash investigator and current Deputy Speaker first released a statement last night refusing to endorse the proposal, voicing his ”dismay” to Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Transport Minister Mark Bailey.
“So, Minister Bailey and Deputy Prime Minister McCormack, I won’t call this current proposal a safety upgrade,” Mr O’Brien said.
“I will call it what it is because that’s what the people of Wide Bay need me to do. I didn’t do my apprenticeship in the tragedy of life, like so many other emergency service workers, just to go with the flow and recite the political spin when it’s not true.
“What I will be doing is fighting to get this road upgraded to the standard we see on the Cooroy to Curra upgraded section of Bruce Highway. A minimum of four lanes with a dividing barrier.”
In another statement released this afternoon Mr O’Brien said the Deputy PM had responded to his concerns and claimed the state government was responsible for the two-lane proposal.
He said Mr McCormack had indicated the Queensland Government had rejected a four-lane proposal because it was “too expensive”.
“It’s now up to the State Government to reveal these costings and indicate whether lives or costs should come first,” Mr O’Brien said.
“If the Queensland Government agrees with my assessment that the two-lane proposal is fatally flawed then they should immediately abandon it and bring forward a plan for four lanes.”
Mr O’Brien said he would be working closely with the Tiaro community to avoid the two-lane bypass.
“This design replicates the type of road that is currently killing Queenslanders,” Mr O’Brien said.
“From an economic perspective there will be a minor benefit for the region, but the current two-lane design with no dividing barrier doesn’t meet the highest possible road safety design standards and will present a high risk to motorists from the day that it is opened.
“This road also does not meet community expectations. A four-lane divided highway with a concrete barrier between opposing directions of high-speed traffic would ensure the highest possible standards in road design and keep all road users safe from deadly high impact head-on collisions.”
Both Mr McCormack and Mr Bailey have been contacted for comment on the issue.
A spokesman for the Deputy PM said the business case for the bypass was expected to be completed by early 2021.
The spokesman said Mr McCormack acknowledged Mr O’Brien’s “strong views on the Tiaro bypass project”.
More to come.