Community & Business

26 July, 2023

Upgrades cause driver road rage

MOTORISTS have delivered their verdict on the multi-million dollar upgrade to the Kennedy Highway east of Mareeba and it’s not complimentary.

By Ellie Fink

The “completed” road upgrades at the Cobra Creek causeway, east of Mareeba, showing the patchwork of bitumen seals.
The “completed” road upgrades at the Cobra Creek causeway, east of Mareeba, showing the patchwork of bitumen seals.

The works to the stretch between Malone Road and Mareeba Connection Road are set to be officially finished in the next week and when new white lines were laid last week, many motorists took to Facebook, aghast that this was the finished product.
In a Facebook post, The Express asked users what they thought about the road and not one of the 80 comments was complimentary about the standard of the works.
The Cobra Creek causeway section was the source of many complaints, with many describing the road surface as “patchwork art”.

“My two year old granddaughter could patchwork a quilt better than that road and she doesn’t even know how to use a sewing machine,” one person commented.
“It’s rough, uneven and will need replacing straight after the next wet season. I’m giving it a -2 out of 10,” another said.
Mareeba Shire Mayor Angela Toppin said she was concerned that the works were “below standard”, and was in talks with the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR).
Taking on board locals feedback, she thanked commuters for their patience and promised to advocate for their needs.
“Maintaining sustainable Cairns to Mareeba Road access is critical to the Mareeba Shire and regional Far North Queensland,” she said.
“While council is thankful for the TMR upgrades to the Kennedy Highway, Mareeba, I am concerned that the work is below standard “We are in discussions with TMR to understand if the intent is for any additional work to be completed.

“We, as a community, were patient while the work was completed, and I sincerely hope the road continues to meet the transport needs for our residents and visitors.
“Mareeba Shire Council does not maintain this section of the highway under the Road Maintenance Performance Contract, and it will be up to TMR to monitor and maintain the road.
“As a council, we will continue to advocate for shire-wide improved regional connectivity and sufficient road access.

When The Express asked TMR about the quality of the works involved in the upgrade, a spokesperson said all upgrades were inspected by TMR to ensure they were delivered to its standards.
“During construction and at completion of every project, we carry out inspections to ensure the project is delivered to our rigorous safety and quality standards,” the spokesperson said.  
“The project has been carried out to scope, which included some full-width seal sections and other sections had repair treatments applied.”
“Road users will benefit from the wide centre line treatment and shoulder widening, improving safety on this section of highway.”

With a delay in the completion of the project, which was forecast to be finished in early 2023, and wet weather playing havoc with the works, The Express asked whether the project was over-budget and whether this had played a role in the standard of the finished product.
“There has been no impact on the scope or budget of the project,” the spokesperson said.

However, when asked specifically whether the section of the road over Cobra Creek would be fixed, the department declined to answer.


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