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11 January, 2021

Katter calls for action on Barron Bridge

Kennedy MP Bob Katter has asked that traffic congestion caused by the failing Barron River Bridge be rectified as soon as possible.

By Phil Brandel

Kennedy MP Bob Katter Inspecting under the Barron River Bridge with Local Miner and road designer Ron Reddicliffe

Kennedy MP Bob Katter has asked that traffic congestion caused by the failing Barron River Bridge be rectified as soon as possible.

“Having long lines of traffic at lights either side of the bridge, and a single lane with a 50.5-tonne weight restriction which started out as a 25-tonne limit is seriously affecting Tablelands and Cairns residents,” Mr Katter said.

“How long will it be before the original 25-tonne limit is restored because the bridge is not fixing itself and only getting worse with the large volume of traffic?

“I inspected the bridge last week from underneath and it is a massive structure that could cost up to $500 million to replace.”

 Mr Katter said now is the time for the State Government and the local members to build a new Highway just past the Davies Creek Bridge.

“This new road alignment is dead straight for 16 kilometres and then winds down into Redlynch in Cairns,” he said.

“This road with a railway line alongside would be much cheaper than trying to replace the Barron River Bridge and would take most traffic off the dangerous Kuranda Range.

“I find it strange that the three local Labor state members have been very silent about this issue before and after the state election.”

In response to a call from Mr Katter, the District Director of the Department of Transport and Main Roads, Ross Hodgman said the department is carrying out inspections of the bridge and it would remain under one lane operation until these inspections are complete.

“The bridge is safe. The lane closure is a precautionary measure while our team of experts carry out their investigations,” Mr Hodgman stated in an email.

“Further action may be needed depending on the investigation outcomes.

 “TMR will receive a report later this month (January 2021), which will provide recommendations on the best way forward, including a likely timeframe for the single-lane closure.”

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 would reach capacity sometime between 2009 and 2015.

A hidden TMR sign with the 25t load limit for the bridge.

 


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