Work has begun on a $20.34m project to improve safety on a 5km stretch of the Bruce Highway between Childers and Apple Tree Creek.
The work by Doval Constructions on behalf of the Department of Transport and Main Roads is expected to extend into mid-2021.
The focus is to upgrade highway intersections with Old Creek Road (south), Chews Road and Gentle Annie Road.
The Pleash Street and Bruce Highway intersection at Apple Tree Creek will also be upgraded with a restriction on right-hand turns for north-bound traffic.
Old Creek Road resident Debbie Williamson-Gleich said she welcomed the safety improvements.
“We live right on the corner and I don’t know how many times we’ve heard the squeal of tyres from yet another near-miss,” she said.
Once completed, motorists travelling from Childers will have a dedicated lane to turn right into Old Creek Road.
The existing acceleration lane for traffic joining the highway from Old Creek Road heading to Childers will be extended.
“A big problem has been that people are trying to turn right on to the highway from Old Creek Road across a lane of traffic,” Debbie said.
“It’s just dangerous and they are right to remove that option.”
Residents in the Chews Road area will see a major improvement to access and egress points with the Bruce Highway.
Gravel sections of Chews Road will be sealed, and some sections widened with sealed property accesses installed. Upgrades will also be made to street lighting.
Bundaberg Regional Council's divisional representative Cr Bill Trevor said it was pleasing to see the work under way.
“Residents using this stretch of the Bruce Highway to access their homes have, at times, been playing Russian roulette with traffic,” he said.
“It is great to see local traffic now supplied with much safer options when accessing and leaving the highway.”
Gentle Annie Road resident Garth Robinson said the improvements were long overdue.
“At times you feel you take your life in your hands especially if you are travelling south and wanting to turn into Gentle Annie Road,” he said.
“There have been accidents and plenty of near misses at this intersection.
“The planned dedicated right and left-hand turning lanes will provide vastly increased safety.”
Garth said some preliminary work was already under way as he had been required to relocate his letterbox.
Wide centre lines will be incorporated on the highway to provide added distance between vehicle lanes. Some alteration to speed limits will also be implemented.
State Transport Minister Mark Bailey said Queensland-based Doval Constructions had been appointed to carry out the works, providing much-needed jobs throughout the Wide Bay area.
“Right up and down the Bruce we’ve seen incredible progress on the jointly-funded $12.6 billion Bruce Highway upgrade program and this next upgrade shows what can be achieved when we deliver targeted projects that employ local people and turbocharge the economy,” Mr Bailey said.
“Queenslanders continue to manage the health impacts of COVID-19, which means we can get on with better roads for the region, as part of Queensland’s plan for economic recovery and a $1.9 billion pipeline of transport and road projects, supporting 1000 jobs.
“Unfortunately, we’ve seen 28 more Queenslanders lose their lives on the road so far this year compared to last year.
“These upgrades will help to improve safety alongside drivers keeping mindful of the fatal five – speed, distraction, drink driving, fatigue and not wearing a seat belt – which are the major causes of accidents on our roads.”
Federal Member for Hinkler, Keith Pitt, said as part of these upgrade works to the Bruce Highway, dedicated right-turn lanes would be built at the intersections of Old Creek Road (south), Chews Road (north) and Gentle Annie Road to separate through and turning traffic.
“In addition to the dedicated turning lanes, right-turn movements into Chews Road (south) and Pleash Street and out of Old Creek Road (south) will be restricted to improve safety,” Mr Pitt said.
“I encourage motorists travelling in either direction from the north of Childers to Bundaberg to plan ahead, with expected delays of up to 10 minutes while the works are under way.”
The $20.34 million upgrade is jointly funded as part of the $1.01 billion Bruce Highway Safety Package, with the Australian Government contributing $16.2 million and the Queensland Government contributing $4.1 million.
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