BYPASS READY: Bree St John from the Gold Nugget says business will be affected.
BYPASS READY: Bree St John from the Gold Nugget says business will be affected. Tom Daunt

How will the Gympie Bypass affect our economy?

It may be a big win for road safety, but at least 87 Gympie businesses that front the Bruce Highway will be affected when the final stage of the bypass opens in three years. Under the bypass plans, traffic will no longer have a direct path past the business.

Gold Nugget worker Bree St John said the business had been aware of the bypass for some time.

"It is definitely going to affect us but in saying that we will be the first servo as you come into Gympie (off the highway), she said.

"We are hoping that we have a good name for ourself.

"People know we have cheap fuel and good food.

"We have spent quite a chunk of money redeveloping.

"We have put in new bowsers, repainted and done a whole new fit-out of counters to make it more appealing for tourists."

Barbara Thompson, manager of Gympie's Shady Rest Motel, which also has Bruce Highway frontage, said she won't be able to assess the impact of the bypass until construction starts but said her patronage was more than just highway travellers.

"As yet, the effect of the Bruce Highway bypass is unknown until it happens," she said. "Obviously, it is a concern. However, we hope that the lovely comfortable rooms and good service we offer will minimise the effect.

"Given the distance from Brisbane to Rockhampton, people will still need a break from the drive. They will have to go somewhere."

Fast food giants McDonald's, KFC, Domino's, Red Rooster, Hungry Jack's, Subway and Pizza Hut may all lose significant traffic because their locations rely heavily on highway trade. However, Red Rooster state manager Chris Churchmichael is not anticipating any negative impact on the business.

"For Red Rooster, we have a strong regional community presence so it's business as usual.

"We are definitely in Gympie for the long haul - as we have also been with all other areas that have been subject to a bypass. This includes Goulburn, Coffs Harbour and Ballina," he said.

Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien previously addressed possible grumblings regarding an adjustment period for the region as a result of the upgrades.

He said traffic flow through the highway was "not sustainable".

"The intersection at Monkland St is already servicing about 25,000 vehicles per day," Mr O'Brien said.

"The obvious thing to do is create a ring road around Gympie. Gympie is going forward and this road will only enhance it."

Mr O'Brien said business should receive support throughout the bypass process.

"There will definitely be some adjustment," he said. "It is a commercial reality of being on the highway, but they (businesses) need to be provided with assistance that is usual and appropriate in these circumstances."

Gympie Times

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