ROAD TO SAFETY: Work begins on highway with tragic history
Works on the first phase of the $42.5m Isis Highway safety upgrade has begun.
Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith said stage 1 involved 13km of wide centre lines and audio-tactile linemarking as well as 17km of resealing.
He said this was building on works already underway like the Isis Highway, Broadview Drive and Park Estate drive intersection upgrade and jointly-funded $5m overtaking lanes.
One life lost on the road is one too many, and unfortunately numerous tragedies have taken place along this stretch.
According to TMR's Isis Highway data there were 130 crashes recorded between January 2010 and December 2019.
Of these, tragically 10 resulted in fatalities and 57 resulted in admissions to hospital.
Forty crashes were at intersections, 12 were classified as off path on a curve, 24 were classified as the off path on a straight and 20 resulted in the vehicle hitting an existing infrangible object (that is, power poles, trees, culverts or steep embankments).
With audio-tactile linemarking, Mr Smith said if cars are starting to veer off, the driver is going to feel the bumps and hear the noise to get them back in their lane and alert.
"And at that point it's probably a good time to think about 'do I need to find a safe place to pull over, stop, revive and survive as well'," he said.
Mr Smith said this project was investing in community safety, infrastructure and jobs.
"The initial sealing is about a month and this will also be completed into next year," he said.
Mr Smith TMR has identified a risk on this road and $42.5m would go a long way to improving the road and ensuring that they were keeping people were safe.
Part of this project also includes upgrading intersections along the highway by widening shoulders and making them longer.
Division 3 representative Councillor Wayne Honor welcomed the works, amid the longstanding community concerns about safety on the highway.
Cr Honor highlighted concerns about the lanes leading up to Pine Creek Rd.
"This upgrade as been upgraded has been called for by the regional community for some 10 to 12 years, and it's been represented at all levels," he said.
Cr Honor congratulated the TMR team for their work on the project and thanked Tom Smith and the State Government for the investment.
Mr Smith said improving safety on the Isis Highway was crucial to the region's $4.28 billion economy and key industries including agriculture and tourism.
"Better roads get families home safer, our products to markets across Australia and the globe, and stimulate jobs - which is why this government has injected $4.8 billion in joint stimulus funding over the last year and a bit to upgrade roads right across the region and the state," he said.
"The wide centre line treatment will improve safety by providing greater separation between drivers travelling in opposite directions."
Mr Smith encouraged motorists to be aware of any changed road conditions during the works.
"The safety of road users and our workers is paramount, so I encourage everyone to remain vigilant and follow traffic control direction on site," he said.
Meanwhile Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said he was excited the State Labor Government had "come to the camp to back our Federal Government".
"For those that don't recall, it's a timely reminder that the Hinkler Regional Deal was announced two years ago, in this part of the world and this was about the funding for the Isis Highway," he said.
The $42.5m investment is on top of the joint-funding the State Government locked in for the $5m Isis Highway overtaking lanes, which are part of the Hinkler Regional Deal.
"Two years of campaigning and political nonsense that went on, and the politicisation of the whole Hinkler Regional Deal and finally we can see some of those benefits starting to come home for the people who've put so much into the safety and the access issues of the Isis Highway," he said.
"There's a number of other projects that are being progressed through the Hinkler Regional Deal, but the Isis Highway [is an] exciting initiative and for so long we've campaigned on what overtaking lanes should look like, the safety upgrades, and more importantly the much needed funding to match Federal Government's commitment to the Isis Highway upgrades."
Mr Bennett said the concerns had been with regards to overtaking lanes and the intersections along the highway.
He said he wouldn't describe the highway as dangerous, rather it was about driving to the conditions.
"People out here learn to curb their travel times, speeds, about what the roads look like - this is a country town, people get on with the job," he said.
"But, unfortunately we do see tragedies.
"Again, today is a day where finally we're seeing funding put into the ground, into the roads, and more importantly government finally stepping up, working with our federal pollies on getting real action for the Burnett electorate."
For more information about the project, contact 1300 728 390 or email firstname.lastname@example.org