THREE overtaking lanes planed for the Flinders Highway between Charters Towers and Townsville must be accelerated to keep road users safe.
Katter's Australian Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said the increase prevalence of road haulage from the north west minerals province to the Port of Townsville meant the work had become a priority.
\Mr Katter said the lack of over-taking lanes on the busy stretch of busy highway was a constant cause of concern to road users travelling between Charters Towers and Townsville.
He said safety issues on that stretch, compounded by high numbers of caravans during tourist season, had led to tragedy in the past.
Mr Katter implored Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey to act immediately to identify and fund solutions to make the highway safer.
"There is approximately a 100km stretch of road on the Flinders Highway between Charters Towers and Townsville, north of Mingela, which has no passing lanes and has seen increased use by road trains, often resulting in light vehicles making ostensibly dangerous overtaking moves so they may travel at 110 km/h without hindrance," Mr Katter said.
He used a Question on Notice to urge Mr Bailey to ensure funding was provided to make sure the upgrades could occur as soon as possible.
Mr Bailey responded this week, confirming more overtaking lanes were planned but there was no timeline in place for the works to occur.
"I am pleased to confirm that the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) is finalising the plans for the installation of three overtaking lanes on the Flinders Highway between Townsville and Mingela, which will contribute to reducing these occurrences," Mr Bailey said.
"This important project will deliver three overtaking lanes, with a dual direction lane (both northbound and southbound) planned about 27 kilometres south of Townsville, and a single northbound overtaking lane about 67 kilometres south of Townsville."
The overtaking lanes would be jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments.
Mr Bailey said the timeframe for delivering the upgrades was subject to further discussions with the Australian Government, however he said work would commence as soon as detailed design and procurement were completed."
Mr Katter said every day the works were delayed, North Queensland motorists faced heightened and unnecessary risk on the road.
"The funds needed for these works are a drop in the ocean to what is being spent on the Cross River Rail Project, which won't save lives but will get inner-city commuters home a few minutes earlier each day.
"The government needs to be mindful about where its priorities lie."