The Road Ahead : October November 2007
OCT/NOV 07 27 FEATURES An estimated $23.5 billion is needed to bring the state's National Network roads up to a safe, adequate standard, according to a Queensland Main Roads audit. The enormity of the Queensland funding challenge is highlighted by comparison with the $22.3 billion that the Federal Government recently committed in total for road and rail infrastructure across Australia under the second stage of its AusLink II land transpor t program from 2009 to 2014. The Main Roads repor t details all safety, 'productivity' and planning projects the depar tment has identified as necessar y on the former 'National Highways' and 'Roads of National Impor tance' that now fall within the National Network. Safety-related works, such as intersection upgrades and provision of over taking lanes, account for $1.62 billion of the required expenditure. The RACQ believes these projects must be a priority for funding, even before the current AusLink plan expires in 2009. RACQ chief executive Ian Gillespie said road improvements had been clearly identified under the National Road Safety Strategy as real life-savers. "The strategy to achieve a 40 percent reduction in the rate of road deaths and injuries within this decade has been framed on the basis that making roads themselves more forgiving of human errors could achieve half of that total reduction in the road toll," Mr Gillespie said. "On that basis, the RACQ urges both the Federal and State Governments to ensure that funding is made available as soon as possible to address the network's identified safety shor tcomings." Mr Gillespie said the Club had fur ther identified within the Main Roads audit some $8.6 billion of required 'productivity improvement' projects for the National Network in Queensland which were, as yet, unfunded but deser ving of high prioritisation for their economic and safety benefits. These included: • Widening the Pacific Motor way from Nerang to the NSW border to cope with increasing volumes of local, tourist and interstate freight traffic. • A bypass of the Warrego Highway around Toowoomba to remove heavy freight traffic from the city's streets and provide for a safer range crossing. • Road widening and intersection upgrades on the Brisbane Urban Corridor, including par ts of the Ipswich Motor way. • The East-West Ar terial connection to Brisbane Airpor t. • The Cooroy to Curra (Gympie) deviation of the Bruce Highway to provide a safer journey on one of Australia's most dangerous sections of the National Network. • Flood mitigation and safety improvements on the Bruce Highway, between Sarina and Cairns. • Widening, strengthening and improved flood mitigation on various sections of the network west of the Great Dividing Range. The RACQ would also like to see a federal financial contribution towards the planning process looking at transpor t options for western Brisbane, including the proposed western bypass. "We recognise that funding for much of the work identified in the Main Roads audit will be a shared federal-state responsibility, especially under the new rules the Commonwealth has laid down under AusLink," Mr Gillespie said. "But both the Federal Government and the Opposition need to recognise that it's largely the neglect of Queensland's road needs by successive national administrations that's led to the massive bill required to fix the network over the next decade or more. "The RACQ acknowledges Canberra's continuing unilateral commitments to major network projects such as the Goodna Bypass of the Ipswich Motor way. "However, we believe a strong case exists for continuation of exclusive federal funding of other much needed projects within the network, with stronger safeguards to ensure on-time and on-cost project management by Queensland Main Roads, if necessar y." Road funds needed Queensland roads need a huge injection of government funding to get up to scratch. Jim McEwan The Pacific Motor way needs more lanes south from Nerang.
December January 2008
August September 2007