Gatton anti-loo fence 'not a safety issue' says Rickuss
MAIN Roads Minister Mark Bailey has admitted in parliament there has been no accidents caused by trucks merging into traffic on the Warrego Hwy where an unofficial rest stop for truckies has been fenced off.
Back in June we learnt the department of Transport and Main Roads had fenced the area off without any consultation after receiving complaints.
Long used as a place for truckies heading west to stop and use the facilities as well as grab some food, the unofficial rest stop was across the road from a Service Station and the MacDonald's at Gatton.
Member for Lockyer Ian Rickuss has called for the fence to be torn down saying he's not had any complaints about trucks merging into traffic there.
He asked Mr Bailey in parliament last week: "Will the Minister advise the number of accidents that have been caused by trucks heading west merging on to the Warrego Highway around Fielding Road, Crowley Vale in 2011-12, 2013, 2014, 2015, and to May 2016?"
The reply: "The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) advises that since 2011 there have been no accidents recorded that were caused by trucks heading west merging onto the Warrego Highway around Fielding Road, Crowley Vale".
Mr Rickuss said he was "frustrated" by "a lack of reasoning behind their decision".
"I'm calling on the minister to reverse the decision. It's not a safety issue.
"It highlights the department is making irrational decisions without the supporting traffic data. It appears the Minister has lost control of his department.
"The department appears to be leaderless and randomly deciding to do projects without a real understanding of the issues at hand.
"We're talking about mature men walking across a highway. You are allowed to walk across them…"
TMR has no plan to remove the fence, saying there was a heavy vehicle stop one kilometre up the road.
While that stop does not have toilet facilities another one, a further 10 kilometres away does, however none of those places offer food.
Previously TMR said it was illegal for trucks to stop at the informal parking bay and a safety issue for truckies crossing the road.
"We have had a number of public complaints about vehicles stopping at this location because they are a hazard when they try to merge back onto the highway (particularly heavy vehicles)," a TMR spokesperson said.
"In addition, the practice of drivers stopping at this location and then crossing on foot four lanes of traffic on a National Highway in a 100km/h zone is highly dangerous and is a practice we could not allow to continue.
"There is a dedicated right turn lane into the BP McDonald's facility for westbound traffic which will accommodate all vehicles up to and including B-double trucks.
"As you know, there is a dedicated U-turn facility at Moroney Rd for those drivers to safely resume their journey westbound towards Toowoomba."
Truckies were outraged about the decision taking to social media to vent their frustration.
"Yes doing a u turn in to 100klm approaching traffic not the best idea and how many trucks do they think can fit in the parking bays at Gatton maccas it fills up enough with eastbound and has a truck driver been killed crossing the road there not that I have heard of," Nathan Hill said.
"Turning at Moroney Rd is a greater hazard than merging with the westbound traffic I'd imagine, due to Moroney Rd intersection being on a bend," Indigo Winters said.