‘Most neglected road’ costing millions
SOUTHEAST Queensland's "most neglected road" is costing the local economy hundreds of millions of dollars.
The 116km Mt Lindesay Highway from the NSW border via Beaudesert to Brisbane is an important freight route and runs through the middle of what will be one of the region's fastest-growing areas over the next quarter of a century.
The population of the Scenic Rim council area is projected to almost double to 71,000 by 2043, but the Mt Lindesay Highway will also be the key corridor for 120,000 residents of the new Greater Flagstone mini-city in Logan.
New research by transport consultants SMEC has identified that it will be the most congested major route in southeast Queensland by 2041 without intervention.
Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen estimates the economic hit at $50 to $100 million a year.
The highway also serves the Bromelton bulk freight and logistics zone. It has been declared a state development area by the Government but Cr Christensen says the massive potential is undermined by companies' concerns over the efficiency and reliability of the road.
"People come and have a look and don't follow up. We're missing one or two $30 million projects a year," he said.
The Scenic Rim's growth as an agritourism and eco-tourism destination also depended on good transport, he said.
But apart from a few million dollars to address safety black spots, no State Government funding has been allocated to upgrading the highway.
"When you see the investment in other roads like the M1, people feel like second-class citizens," Cr Christensen said.
"Where on the M1 or Ipswich Motorway would anyone think it is a good investment to place not one, but four sets of traffic lights in a five to six kilometre section and add a lollipop lady school crossing zone in the middle. That is what we experience at Jimboomba."
The State Government's rail strategy says a train link through the area to Greater Flagstone, and eventually Beaudesert, would be enabled by the completion of Cross River Rail in 2024, but no date has been set or money allocated. Similarly, it has also flagged an extension of the Gateway Motorway to Jimboomba.
Cr Christensen said the rail line and widening the highway to four lanes for about 25km were needed for the future.