Fraser Coast Regional councillors Les MucKan and David Dalgleish discuss options for a bridge across the Burrum River with Member for Hinkler Paul Neville and Bundaberg Regional Council Deputy Mayor Tony Ricciardi.
Fraser Coast Regional councillors Les MucKan and David Dalgleish discuss options for a bridge across the Burrum River with Member for Hinkler Paul Neville and Bundaberg Regional Council Deputy Mayor Tony Ricciardi. GARY HUTCHISON

Trip to Hervey Bay cut by 45 mins

AN election promise may lead to 45 minutes being cut off the trip from Bundaberg to Hervey Bay.

Member for Hinkler Paul Neville said a Coalition government would provide $100,000 towards a pre-feasibility study for a bridge across the Burrum River.

Mr Neville made the announcement at Buxton yesterday in a meeting with Bundaberg Regional Council deputy mayor Tony Ricciardi and Fraser Coast regional councillors Les MucKan and David Dalgleish.

He said the project had been the subject of informal discussions for many years and a study could provide an indicative guide to the future.

“Feasibility and the approximate location of a bridge would be the foundation of more comprehensive work that needs to be explored,” he said.

“The study could examine sites between Buxton and Burrum Heads, the relative width of the rivers, suitable foundations, and community attitudes at Buxton, Goodwood, Walkers Point and Woodgate, as well as economic indicators.”

Cr Ricciardi said a bridge would cut the time it took to get be

tween Bundaberg post office and the Scarness post office to about an hour.

“I reckon that now it would be 110 minutes using the current road system, but with a bridge we’d save 45 minutes,” he said.

Cr Dalgleish added there was a multitude of benefits if a bridge was ever constructed.

“The time it took to get to medical facilities especially would be significantly reduced,” he said.

And Cr MucKan emphasised the increased tourism capabilities that would be available.

“Hervey Bay and Bundaberg could become twin hubs for the airports in the two cities,” he said.

However, one person who was vehemently opposed to the proposal was environmentalist David Wieland, who declared a bridge would silt up the Burrum River whether it was at the mouth or somewhere else.

“A bridge would be unsustainable, and not balanced against environmental and economic issues,” he said.

“What we want is a clean river.

“Clean up the river, stop the trawlers and commercial fisherman and stock the Burrum.”

Mr Neville and the three councillors unanimously agreed that community opinion would weigh heavily on any final decision.

“If the study comes up positively and has community support, more intensive work could be undertaken,” Mr Neville said.

“Funding would be provided to the Fraser Coast and Bundaberg Regional councils, which could provide a consultant or work through the Department of Main Roads.

Mr Neville said a decision on which organisation would conduct the study had yet to be determined, but the funding could be made available to either council.



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