Trucking boss weighs in on ‘2nd Bruce Hwy’ announcement
A PROMINENT leader in the Queensland trucking industry has weighed in on a game-changing and ambitious plan to build a new inland highway through southwest Queensland.
Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) CEO Gary Mahon told Big Rigs two days ago on October 19 that he’d like to see a new inland route, but now is ‘very pleased’ to see a commitment to the idea, saying that it will help the agriculture and mining inudstries.
Announced by premier Annastacia Palaszczuk this morning, October 21, the new route from Mungindi to Charters Towers, via Roma and Emerald, is being dubbed the ‘second Bruce Highway’.
“Talking about safety, productivity, much lower cost spend; you’ve got the opportunity to have a second north-south route through Queensland,” Mr Mahon said.
“It’d be relatively flood proof already.
“Certainly over part of that idea, our push is that high productivity combinations could run all the way from Toowoomba to Townsville.”
While he describes the plan to run four lanes up the entire Bruce Highway as an ‘admirable ambition’, he said there needs to be a separation of cars and trucks on the road network.
He is estimating the time frame for the inland corridor would be five to eight years, with only a one billion dollar spend.
This contrasts with the LNP’s recently announced Bruce Hwy plan which will cost around $33 million and take 15 to 20 years to complete.
“Other than we’re pleased to see that contest of ideas,” he said.
“We’ve been pushing for the inland freight route and we’re pleased to see the idea is being strongly supported.”
“You look at New South Wales - they’ve got three north-south corridors, and we have one”
In order to run high productivity vehicles from Townsville towards Toowoomba and New South Wales, Mr Mahon believes there needs to be some work done to the existing Carnarvon and Gregory Highway corridor.
Much of these works will need to be done as the A7 route crosses Carnarvon Gorge, including at the ‘pinch’ north of Injune.
“The turnout between Rolleston and Springsure needs work,” Mr Mahon said.
“There’s a couple of floodways up near Belyando (north of Clermont) that warrant upgrades.”
Mr Mahon also floated the idea of an Emerald Bypass, to help with freight movements and flood issues.
He’s also proposing intersection treatments to the existing route through Roma.
“Single lane carriageway will be fine, but there’ll need to be some overtaking lane treatments.”
As for movements between Toowoomba and Roma along the Warrego Highway, Mr Mahon said the route has been upgraded to a ‘reasonable extent’.
“There may be some smaller treatments, but we’d argue that we could run AB-triples; we argue that we should be able to run them from Toowoomba now,” he said.