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Community & Business

13 October, 2021

Trucks avoid main street crossings

TRUCKS travelling through Mareeba have been choosing alternate routes to bypass Byrnes Street in order to avoid the new wombat crossings.

By Rhys Thomas

Heavy trucks have been avoiding Mareeba’s main street and using side streets including Anzac Avenue going over the John Doyle Bridge.

This issue was brought to light by concerned Mareeba residents who have put forward a petition to Mareeba Shire Council to lower the load limit on the John Doyle Bridge in a bid to stem the tide of trucks avoiding Byrnes Street. 

The petition was started by resident of Anzac Avenue, Gladys France and proposes lowering the current limit of 44 tons to 20 tons. 

In the petition Gladys states that the initial change of the load limit to 44 tons is “detrimental” to the health and safety of residents due to noise pollution, considerable traffic and heavy and oversized vehicles. 

108 residents signed the petition before it was put before Council, during last month’s ordinary Council meeting. It was resolved that the petition be received by Council and that a report would need to be tabled. 

Mareeba local Denis McKinley said that the trucks have been using Anzac Avenue and Constance and Walsh Street to bypass the main street and the new wombat crossings. 

“The truck and trailers are now being forced to come down Anzac Avenue over the John Doyle Bridge, into Constance Street, around Lloyd Street near the hospital and back onto Byrnes Street to go north across the Granite Bridge,” he said. 

“The reason why these trucks and trailers are doing this is because of the obstacle course they have to go through on the main street now that we have wombat crossings. 

“It is an absolute nightmare for them and a lot of them are taking other routes to get away from it, they have been forced to do this through the incompetence of what has happened in the main street.” 

It is suspected that this increase in heavy vehicles using the John Doyle Bridge and alternative routes has caused noticeable road damage to the bridge and the bitumen. 

While Council can put a load limit on the bridge or on the road they cannot enforce these new limits, that responsibility falls on the Queensland Police Service. 

Council has already put traffic counters on Anzac Avenue to monitor if there has been an increase in traffic and the size of the vehicles using the route, they will then use this date to compare to later years and determine a course of action.

The traffic counters will then be moved to Constance and Walsh streets to determine if there has been an increase in traffic in these streets. 

If there is an increase Council has plans to use the data they find to advocate even further for the Mareeba Bypass. 

“More than ever now if they really want to solve this problem they need to grab hold of that 50 year plan for the bypass to the west of Mareeba and put it in place,” Mr McKinley continued. 

“You only have to ask the truck drivers, they don’t want to come through the main street there is nowhere for them to pull up and purchase stuff out of the main street.

“They’re on a schedule from their contactors to get from point A to point B.” 

One of the original advocates for Mareeba’s heavy vehicle bypass and past Mareeba Mayor Mick Borzi said that the need for the bypass is only increasing. 

“As the town continues to grow the need to have necessary heavy vehicle traffi c bypass the town has advantages,” he said.

“I know there will be, and there are, shop owners who could be opposed to the bypass and I know of towns where the bypass has substantially reduced traffic through the town. 

“We need to realise this town is now at a stage where heavy vehicle traffic of the size and quantity that we currently have going through town, needs to be redirected. 

“The trucks now are bypassing the main street and going through what are still quiet, relatively residential areas, that don’t need that kind of traffic.”

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