There are concerns for Childers businesses if a bypass happens.
There are concerns for Childers businesses if a bypass happens. Paul Donaldson

Highway bypass only welcome under one condition

THE Childers Chamber of Commerce says it welcomes the State Government's promise of a highway bypass for the town under one condition - that it is for trucks only.

The idea for a bypass has been kicking around the region for more than 20 years, but the chamber's president Wayne Say says the concept of diverting general traffic from the town is a cause of deep concern for the community.

"No one wants a bypass of their town," he said.

"It's worked sometimes in areas where they've had a truck bypass.

"It's really all in the design, if they had a traffic bypass it would need to be designed in a way that doesn't encourage general traffic to use it."

An increasing number of trucks moving through the town is a real concern according to Mr Say.

"The number of trucks that come through here is phenomenal, especially at night-time," he said.

"It's an increasing traffic flow and the possibility of a major tragedy in town if one crashes is the worry."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced yesterday that a re-elected Labor government would put a billion-dollar-a-year plan in place for the Bruce Hwy including a trust to identify "priority projects" such as the bypass over a 15-year period.

In 2011, then-premier Anna Bligh announced the Labor State Government would introduce the bypass as part of a Bruce Hwy upgrade.

Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson said in addition to the continued plan for a Childers bypass, the Palaszczuk government has also committed to funding the completion of the Gympie bypass.

"The final stage of the project would create a Gympie bypass and complete the 61-kilometre project," Ms Donaldson said.

"The stretch of the Bruce Hwy between Cooroy and Curra was one of the most dangerous sections of the National Land Transport Network.

"Major upgrade work on this section has increased capacity and, most importantly, improved safety."

Mr Say said if the Childers project was a fait accompli, it needed the involvement of the community in its planning.

"It seems to be the done thing now to have highway that bypasses small towns and makes it quicker to get from A to B," he said.

"The important thing, if it does proceed is for the town and the chamber to be included in the planning process so the town has input into the best outcome.

"At the chamber we'd like to be involved in any discussions with Main Roads and council about it."

Childers Chamber of Commerce vice president and former councillor John Russo echoed Mr Say's concerns.

"We're not in favour of a bypass, we're only in favour of a heavy vehicle bypass," he said.

Mr Russo said the comparatively low number of vehicles moving through Childers made the idea of a bypass somewhat insignificant.

The NewsMail inquired as to whether plans for a bypass would be aimed at trucks or general traffic but did not hear back before the time of print.

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