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General News

4 February, 2023

Concerns continue over state of roads

SECTIONS of the Kennedy Highway at Rocky Creek were given a new bitumen seal last week as Main Roads moved to repair the road after weeks of heavy rain took its toll on the surface of the road, causing clusters of potholes.

By Robyn Holmes

One of the sections of Griffin Road with rutting at the edges
One of the sections of Griffin Road with rutting at the edges

But while that part of the highway has now been repaired, motorists remain unimpressed by the upgrade to the highway between Atherton and Mareeba, with water pooling on many parts of the road during heavy rainfall, causing vehicles to aquaplane, no overtaking lanes heading north, and rough, bumpy sections where the base of the road was not smoothed out before the new bitumen was applied.

On 18 January, intense rainfall caused side roads to turn into creeks of red soil and water, flowing fast across several areas of the highway between Rocky Creek and Tolga.

Member for Hill Shane Knuth, who seven years ago got ministerial intervention to the Rocky Creek intersection after a man lost his life there, has once again raised concerns about the condition of the highway on behalf of all road users.

“While we welcome the quick response from Main Roads for the repairs and further maintenance at Rocky Creek,

there are further issues that need to be addressed between Atherton and Mareeba including pot-holes, flooding and water pooling the wheel tracks in places along the highway,” he said.

“It’s disappointing that parts of this recently upgraded highway are continuing to deteriorate and create hazards and con-cerns for drivers.”

Mr Knuth also raised the need for more overtaking lanes between the two big urban centres.

“While a case study is to be done and passing lanes are definitely a priority, there is no funding in the budget but I will continue to raise the need for upgrades to the Kennedy Highway to the Minister for Transport,” he said.

Meanwhile Tablelands Regional Council officers and Cr Bernie Wilce inspected areas of Griffin Road last week after residents were forced to drive through floodwaters after the 18 January deluge that hit the area.

Residents have also complained about deep ruts at the side of the road, making it dangerous for two cars to pass each other, made worse by the high number of cyclists and walkers on the road.

“They listened to our concerns and were going to look at the road where we pointed out need addressing, but, as usual, there are no funds for the proper infrastructure to be carried out,” one of the residents said.

“We have been informed people walking up the road and cyclists do at their own risk, nothing can be done to address this. Also adding the training the Red Earth do on the lower end of Griffin Road to the butchery is also at their own risk.

“But no one takes into account the dangers of the residents either harming them or damaging their vehicles getting out of their way.

“So, we will wait and see if anything gets done. But it seems we will end up with stop and go lights on our road as they have previously done.”

TRC Infrastructure and Environment general manager Mark Vis said Griffin Road drains and road edges would be assessed and, if “intervention levels” were met, maintenance would be conducted.

“The community can lodge requests for service for roads, drains and other TRC-maintained infrastructure via our website, email, phone and customer service centres,” he added.

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