11 March, 2023
State needs to step up to fix ‘dangerous’ section of road
MEMBER for Hill Shane Knuth and Tablelands residents are calling on the State Government to put money into fixing a dangerous section of the Kennedy Highway.
Recently, a truck with a locomotive on its trailer slipped down the embankment and rolled on the highway between Tumoulin and Herberton because it could not navigate the sharp corners of the Ravenshoe range. The accident closed the road for several hours.
“This notorious 2.4km section between Tumoulin and Herberton road turn-off where the truck slipped into the embankment is highly dangerous and needs to be urgently fixed,” Mr Knuth said.
“This section is dangerous not only for trucks but also other vehicles which have brought about a number of complaints which I raised with Transport and Main Roads a number of years ago.”
Ravenshoe Chamber of Commerce vice president Blake Kidner agreed with Mr Knuth, adding that on the Kennedy Highway, oversize and B-double loads were not permitted to access an 18.4km section of the 32B Kennedy Highway (Mareeba to Ravenshoe).
He said this section of road was causing a substantial financial burden to many businesses on the southern Tablelands by forcing large loads to detour to the longer 94km route.
“There is a contractor in Herberton that we regularly work for that is based out of Elms Road, Wondecla, which from my depot is 29km via the national highway A1, which cannot be travelled on by oversize (OSOM) or B-double trucks,” Mr Kidner said.
“I travel this section of road regularly and am consistently seeing OSOM Trucks and B-doubles on this section of prohibited road.
“This is because the B-double route is 94km to the same location and travels through three CBDs, three school zones and three very steep ranges.
“This not only significant costs to business for unnecessary transport but also presents a far greater safety risk.
“Due to the shorter distance, truck drivers may feel it is too costly to drive around so they ‘run the gauntlet’ to save time and money.
“This section of road, which is very tight cornered and narrow, needs to be fixed up as it is a death trap waiting to happen and should be dealt with as a matter of urgency.
“We are joining Shane in calling for the 2.4km stretch of road to be urgently fixed and funding to be allocated to widen the 18.4km section of road from Tumoulin turn off to Belson Rd turn-off, to allow safe passage of heavy vehicles, B-doubles and oversize vehicles, along our national A1 highway.”
A Department of Main Roads spokesperson said in light of the concerns raised, an inspection of the Kennedy Highway between Tumoulin and Herberton roads would be undertaken to ascertain what the damage is and any maintenance requirements.
“Works to widen the section between the Tumoulin turn-off to Belson Rd turn-off are currently unfunded and must be assessed against other state priorities,” the spokesperson said.
“At this point, there are no plans to alter the B-Double route to include this section of the Kennedy Highway.”
The department was committed to improving safety for all road users on the state-controlled road network, including the Kennedy Highway from Mareeba to Ravenshoe.
“Last year, we completed a $37.5 million safety upgrade of Kennedy Highway between Mareeba and Atherton,” the spokesperson said.
“The Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program 2022-23 to 2025-26 includes a further $8.5 million to install overtaking lanes on Kennedy Highway between Mareeba and Ravenshoe.
“We will provide more information about the scope and location of these projects as planning progresses.”