23 May, 2023
Range loses overtaking lane
THE first overtaking lane on the Kuranda Range from Mareeba to Cairns has been removed by the Department of Transport and Main Roads because it no longer meets current safety standards.
The removal of the lane is part of the ongoing rehabilitation and resealing works that have been carried out on the Kennedy Highway, east of the Barron River bridge at Kuranda, for the past few months.
A department spokesperson said when upgrading existing infrastructure, they were required to meet current standards to ensure safety for all road users and the old overtaking lane was not applicable.
“The overtaking lanes were not long enough to allow for safe overtaking manoeuvres and have been removed,” he said.
“We have installed a slow vehicle pullover lane on the west-bound lane (towards Kuranda).
“Before works started, we informed nearby residents and road users about the works.”
But on social media last week, local residents and range users said there was little to no communication between them and the department and many are upset about the change.
While some believed the removal of the lane was a good thing and others believed there needed to be more overtaking lanes not less, everyone agreed there was a lack of communication.
Pat Mau also drew attention to slow vehicles such as trucks, caravans and tourists who would often use the lane to let other drivers safely pass.
“It's not a matter of getting up or down the range quicker but drivers of large vehicles, tourists who don't know the range or those who just puddle along etc cause those behind them a lot of frustration,” she said.
“That is when people make foolish decisions causing accidents and other problems.”
The department is also working with the Australian Government to develop an appropriate scope of works as part of the Federal Government's $210 million funding commitment for upgrades on Kuranda Range Road.
“We will consult with the local community and other stakeholders,” the spokesperson said.