Year's wait for horror upgrade
LEX Dow has lost four friends in road crashes on the infamous Monto-Mt Perry Road.
After popular Monto State High School teacher Lionel Cavanagh was killed on a treacherous unsealed stretch of the road last Thursday, the Monto community has vowed “enough is enough”.
“The whole community has been agitating for years to get the road improved,” Mr Dow said.
“It’s our main route to medical care at Bundaberg, and to the coast – and this recent tragedy has highlighted how unsafe it is.”
Mr Cavanagh and another male driver died after colliding head-on about 50km out of Monto, at Yarrol.
The cause of the crash is still being investigated by Bundaberg Police.
But Mr Dow said a number of factors made the road terrifying to those travelling it.
“Because it’s so narrow, it’s difficult to stay on the left without sliding into the loose gravel,” he said.
“It’s a hilly, winding road, so if you’re travelling east in the morning, the sun is directly in your eyes as you come over the tops of hills.”
He said the road needed to be widened and sealed to prevent further tragedies.
The road is so isolated that there is no mobile telephone coverage, which Mr Dow said added to the concerns of people forced to drive it.
North Burnett Region mayor Joy Jensen said the road needed urgent work.
“It has always been top of our list – every family who travels that road knows someone who has died on it,” Cr Jensen said.
“The place where the accident took place has been scheduled for an upgrade since the old Perry Shire days.”
She said designs had been finalised to re-align the road at Yarrol, where the fatal crash occurred, but it could be a long wait until it was sealed.
“It would cost millions, and we are all struggling for cash,” she said.
A Department of Transport and Main Roads spokeswoman said the current Roads Implementation Program (2009-10 to 2013-14) provided $738,000 to re-align and put in additional signs on the section of Monto-Mt Perry Road at Yarrol.
“The project is currently in the planning stage with construction expected to start in early 2011,” she said.
Cr Jensen said she was hopeful the work to re-align the road could be brought forward in light of the recent crash.