AROUND 575 deaths and serious injuries could be prevented on the Bruce Highway between Ingham, Townsville and Ayr over 20 years if the incoming Federal Government committed $100 million for safety improvements, the RACQ has stated.
RACQ Group Chief Executive Officer Ian Gillespie said the RACQ would be pushing for the new government to respond to the recent Australian Road Assessment Program report, which rated these critical sections of the Bruce well below an acceptable safety standard.
“We will be ramping up our efforts to ensure the incoming government follows through on its pre-election promises and also commits the $900 million that AusRAP shows is required for essential safety improvements along the entire Bruce Highway,” Mr Gillespie said.
“This includes $100 million for safety improvements on the sections between Ingham and Ayr.
AusRAP recently rated 73 per cent of the Townsville to Ayr link and 34pc of the Townsville to Ingham link only one and two stars out of five for safety.
“According to AusRAP, an estimated 575 deaths and serious injuries would be prevented on these links over 20 years following the completion of these works.”
Mr Gillespie said the Ingham-Townsville and Townsville-Ayr links had several features that posed severe risks to motorists – they were undivided roads with high traffic volumes, narrow sealed shoulders, frequent intersections and hazardous roadsides.
He said the required safety improvements outlined by AusRAP included: safety barriers; removal of roadside hazards; audio tactile line markings (rumble strips); intersection improvements; lane duplication; lane widening; road surface improvements; signalised crossings; central median barriers; and shoulder sealing.
“Repairing the Bruce Highway and putting a stop to the 40-plus deaths that occur on it every year has been the key focus of our Demand Better Roads election campaign,” Mr Gillespie said.
He said RACQ had worked in collaboration with the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) and the nation’s other motoring clubs to launch the Demand Better Roads campaign in April, and had succeeded in attracting key funding pledges from both parties for the Bruce Highway.
“Within days of launching the campaign the Federal Government promised $4.1 billion over 10 years to the Bruce Highway and the Opposition later outdid this with a promise of $6.7 billion over 10 years,” he said.
“Both parties promised to carry out upgrades to bridges and approaches at Haughton River south of Townsville, and Yellow Gin Creek and Sandy Gully south of Ayr, to improve flood immunity in these highly flood-prone sections.
“The Bruce Highway is frequently cut at these locations during heavy rain, causing economic loss to industry, tourism and the local community.”
Mr Gillespie said the Opposition had also promised to implement the Townsville northern access upgrade – to improve traffic flow and safety.
“The funding promised by both parties will go a long way towards the completion of major long-term capital works projects on specific sections,” he said.
“However, we also need funds for safety improvements along the entire length of the Bruce if we are to achieve a significant reduction in deaths and serious injuries.”
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