Community & Business

27 June, 2023

Roadworks woes continue

FRUSTRATION continues amongst commuters travelling between Mareeba and Smithfield, with roadworks continuing to delay travel time on a daily basis during the day and night.

By Ellie Fink

Roadworks woes continue - feature photo

FRUSTRATION continues amongst commuters travelling between Mareeba and Smithfield, with roadworks continuing to delay travel time on a daily basis during the day and night.

Safety upgrade works have been set up at the eastern entry of Mareeba on the Kennedy Highway since last year whilst nighttime commuters have experienced delays on the Kuranda Range as the new Intelligence Transport System is being installed in several spots along the road.

The ITS will allow the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) to monitor the change in conditions on the Kuranda Range and adjust the speed limits to suit the conditions.

Through a camera at the top of the system structure, operators can immediately take action to change the speed limit and alert commuters of delays through the QLD Traffic website and app.

Last week, the first ITS structures were erected on the range, with Kuranda local Andrew Moss taking to the Kuranda Notice Board Facebook page to express his concerns about the structures.

“They look like something out of a prison,” his post read.

Many said the system was “a great waste of money” and an unpleasant sight on the tourist road.

“Again, a great waste of money. Accidents, deaths… and nothing but hot air from our government,” one person said.

“Government procrastination and spending the money down south while we deal with the deaths and risk to our families daily and look at their 30 million dollar Band-Aid.”

“They look beautiful… that’s just what people want to see when driving to Kuranda!” another person wrote.

A spokesperson from TMR said the ITS was vital to help improve safety on the range as well as helping commuters plan their trips up and down the hill effectively if there were delays.

“This project will install various ITS stations on the Kuranda Range section of the Kennedy Highway, equipped with roadside data systems and variable speed limit signs,” the spokesperson said.

“The ITS treatments will improve trip reliability for road users by assisting in responding to incidents quickly and reducing the length of time of road closures.”

Nighttime commuters have had to experience delays for up to 10 minutes at time, with crews having to dig into the range road to lay electrical systems for the ITS.

When asked about potential impacts on the road’s surface resulting from the digging, TMR declined to comment but assured that resealing works would be conducted to smooth the surface.

“Once conduits to provide power and communications to the ITS stations are laid in the road, resealing works are carried out to match the road surface to the existing road pavement as much as possible, in accordance with our guidelines,” the spokesperson said.

The ITS stations are expected to be operational in October 2023, weather and construction conditions permitting.

Work between Malone Road and the Mareeba Connection Road have been ongoing since August 2022, with the wet season causing lengthy delays for completion.

Since late last year, the Mareeba Community Noticeboard has published several posts from commuters worried about how long their trip will take.

“I have to go to Cairns on Monday early morning. How much time do I need to calculate from Mareeba with all the roadworks going on?” one post read.

The works have caused many to miss important meetings and flights.

“I’m always worried about missing a flight, so I leave Mareeba three to four hours before needed lol but that’s just me,” one comment read.

“I once missed a flight to Brisbane due to traffic and hence missed seeing the Foo Fighters.... cost of plane and concert tickets down the gurgler... never again.”

A TMR spokesperson said remaining works included guardrail installation, bitumen sealing, vegetation works, signage installation and line marking.

“We are progressing wide centre line treatment on the Kennedy Highway between Malone Road and Mareeba Connection Road, Mareeba to improve safety,” the spokesperson said.

“Our completion dates for projects are dependent on weather and construction conditions.”

Works are expected to be completed in August 2023, weather and construction conditions permitting


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