The Bruce is not up to scratch

QUEENSLAND’S peak motoring body has called for improvements to the section of the Bruce Highway running through the Bundaberg region which it rates at an average of only three stars out of five.

John Wikman, RACQ executive manager traffic and safety, said the highway was rated on factors such as lane width, shoulder width, alignment, overtaking opportunities, volume of traffic, the terrain, the frequency of intersections, line markings and unsafe roadsides blocked by obstacles such as trees and power poles.

“We believe that three stars on a national highway is totally unacceptable,” he said.

“That carries a huge amount of traffic, we at least want it four star. We’re all about saving people’s lives.”

Mr Wikman said they were in the process of reassessing the highway from Brisbane to Cairns, in a joint project with the Department of Main Roads, and updating the star ratings but their findings would probably not be released until next year.

He said they would like to see $1 billion spent on safety improvements on the Bruce Highway during the next 10 years.

“We know what the answers are – basically it’s improving the alignment, widening the formations, sealing the shoulders, giving more overtaking opportunities and removing or protecting roadside hazards,” he said.

Mr Wikman said there were some preliminary studies which showed that slowing traffic to 90kmh which has happened either side of Gympie and north of Gin Gin, reduced fatalities and improved crash statistics overall. But he said it should be viewed as an interim measure because the road was still unsafe in engineering terms and needed upgrading.

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AUTHORITIES are at a crash site after a collision at Branyon.

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