19 May, 2023
Safety focus for local roads
DANGEROUS intersections and flooding cause-ways on major transport links have been top priority for a local traffic advisory committee dedicated to making the Mareeba Shire’s roads safer.
Council’s Traffic Advisory Committee has worked in partnership with the Department of Transport and Main Roads over the past few months to rectify a number of concerns including the dangerous Yuruga Nursery turnoff, the Bilwon Road slip lane off the Mulligan Highway and river-monitoring cameras for Trimble’s Crossing.
The department has begun action on both the Bilwon Road slip lane and Trimble’s Crossing however concerns around the Yuruga Nursery turnoff are still to be addressed.
Vice chair of the committee Cr Lenore Wyatt has witnessed many issues with the Bilwon Road slip lane first-hand.
“I brought up concerns about the Bilwon Road slip lane over four years ago because I drive it all the time and I’ve seen a lot of near misses – I have also had people from the community contacting me with their concerns,” she said.
“That has been on our agenda for over four years and we have just had confirmation that they (the department) have done the designs and hopefully be finishing it by the end of this year, but I’m not holding my breath.
“The other thing I have lobbied for which I haven’t seem to be able to get up is an 80km/h zone in Biboohra because you are actually going past houses and turnoffs, but that hasn’t really got any traction.”
Trimble’s Crossing will be addressed much sooner, with the department seeking to install cameras before the next wet season. The crossing is located on the Burke Development Road, a major transport link that links Mareeba and the coast to inner areas of the Gulf of Carpentaria.
The department has cameras for monitoring river levels and road condition at both Furgerson’s Crossing and the Lynd on the same roads, hundreds of kilometres apart, with Trimble’s situated right in the middle.
Trimble’s is one of the steepest crossings in the shire and also the lowest. Trucks travelling the road may get through Furgerson’s unscathed but be stopped at Trimble’s due to the water level – without cameras, there is no sure-fire way to know.
“Trimble’s can consistently stay at levels of 7-9m over the crossing for long periods of time so if we get cameras there, people can actually moni-tor it and not take the drive,” Cr Wyatt said.
“Having these cameras allow people to be more informed and travel safely on remote west-ern roads.
“The department have stated to us that they will install cameras before the next wet season, which is huge. It has been a very quick process – I brought it up at the December meeting and there has been a really quick turnaround.”
However, the turnoff into Yuruga Nursery remains a concern and the department has given no assurance as to when it will become a focus.
The main concern is when motorists travelling from Mareeba to Atherton attempt to turn into the nursey access. Cars need to stop in the middle of an overtaking lane to turn into the nursery, causing drivers to slam on their brakes and many near misses have been seen as cars come out of Yuruga heading to Atherton as they cross the highway and enter into the overtaking lane.
“It is confusing and very dangerous and I have had some people that live near the area, hear and see the near misses,” Cr Wyatt said.
“They (the department) are going to have to do some traffic monitoring or traffic study there to work out how they can mitigate those risks.
“Nothing is going to change overnight but it has been flagged.”
Cr Wyatt said council could only lobby Main Roads to make changes, however it was ultimately up to the department on when, how and where they spend their money.”