The Road Ahead : April 2013
QUEENSLAND'S LARGEST CLUB APR/MAY 2013 THE ROAD AHEAD 67 ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE | MEMBER ESSENTIALS THE RACQ IS disappointed, but not surprised, about the financial failure of Brisbane's newest toll road AirportlinkM7, which went into receivership in February, just seven months after opening. RACQ Executive General Manager Advocacy Paul Turner said the tunnel infrastructure was world class. "Forecasted traffic volumes of 179,000 vehicles a day in the tunnel's first six months were far too ambitious," Mr Turner said. "It was unrealistic to expect Airport Link would attract higher traffic volumes than the Gateway Motorway. At last check, it was attracting about 45,000 vehicles a day." The 6.7km toll road, which opened in July, 2012, connects the Clem7 Tunnel and Inner City Bypass to the East West Arterial leading to the airport. "We're concerned that the toll funding model for projects like AirportlinkM7 and Clem7 isn't working. It is clear that government needs to look at other funding options for future major infrastructure projects because new investment in toll roads is now unlikely," Mr Turner said. Federal funding for Toowoomba bypass 'essential' The RACQ has called on the Federal Government to commit to funding the long overdue Toowoomba bypass, saying it will reduce congestion, improve safety and foster economic growth in the region. "We're calling on the Federal Government to make a commitment to the people of southern Queensland to provide the majority of funds required for the second Toowoomba Range crossing before the September election," RACQ Executive Manager Public Policy, Michael Roth, said. "Between 2005 and 2009, there were 22 deaths and serious injuries resulting from crashes on the range alone. We welcome the State Government's plans for the building of the second crossing, which aims to divert heavy vehicles from the existing route. While the scope of the project has been reduced, we're satisfied that motorists' safety hasn't been compromised." Mr Roth said the 42km second range crossing would run from the Warrego Highway at Helidon in the east, to the Gore Highway at Athol in the west, replacing 16 traffic lights with only two, and diverting heavy traffic from the Toowoomba CBD. This would save 10 minutes in travel time for cars and over 30 minutes for heavy vehicles. "Government has said the new crossing must be tolled to help cover the cost," Mr Roth said. "We believe that a toll for heavy vehicles should be placed on both the new crossing and the existing route, to ensure there is no incentive for the big trucks to continue to go through Toowoomba. "A toll on passenger cars is not required as the volume is not high enough to warrant it. By easing congestion and reducing delays and travel times, the new crossing will support economic growth in the region. The second Toowoomba range crossing should be a priority." airportlinkM7 financial failure bad news for future projects IMAGE: AIRPORTLINKM7 UNDER CONSTRUCTION.