As a $1.25 million dollar safety audit is underway on the Kuranda range road, other options are being discussed as a way to cut congestion and open up the Tablelands.
Last week as Bob Katter discussed the opening of an office in Mareeba, he was also espousing the idea of building a new road that would cut out Kuranda completely and would link the Tablelands with Redlynch.
Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch has also come out in support of the idea.
“I think it needs to be considered,” he said “The idea of duplicating the Kuranda range is an icebergs chance in hell of happening.
“Trying to double the width all the way down the range is not going to happen, it’s World Heritage-listed, what about wildlife corridors? how do you manage that? “
The Federal Member for Leichhardt said there are other options available “We need to talk about other options that are not widening the range or drilling a tunnel”
“There are three other options are available, Including Quads road, (Southedge-Wangetti Road) which comes out at Wangetti.”
“There’s also the option for a road to come out near JCU, that would be about half the length of the Kuranda range.”
“The third option’ Mr Entsch said “ is an Ergon track that comes out near Redlynch and starts near Davies Creek.
“This option makes a lot of sense; it’s somewhere that could connect straight to the Cairns port and airport. You’ve got a better chance at getting that done than you have of widening a road through a world heritage listed area. “
Mr Entsch says of the Kuranda audit that is currently taking place “if they don’t look into these options they are wasting money.”
“This should have been done decades ago, they did an engineering study on this 20 years ago and then they did nothing.”
In 2003 the Queensland State Government received a report titled “Planning for the upgrade of the Kuranda Range road” by Paul Jones. The report predicted that the road that links Cairns with Kuranda will reach capacity sometime between 2009 and 2015.