118 protest state of Gemfields road
A SERIOUS crash in which a truck driver was trapped for almost three hours in the crushed cabin of his vehicle this month has highlighted safety fears for the Sapphire-Rubyvale-Capella Rd.
Gemfields residents and tourists have called for the speed limit to be reduced to 40kmh, claiming the noise from quarry trucks carting loads at night was ruining sleep, and by day, smashing windscreens and leaving jittery drivers to count near-misses.
A petition containing 118 signatures gathered over five days from locals and winter tourists was tabled at Monday’s Central Highlands Regional Council meeting.
The Rubyvale Caravan Park’s Graeme and Sue Mellis organised the petition.
“It’s been going on for eight weeks and it’s just been getting worse, all night trucks are coming through here, 1 and 2am, triples banging through the culvert and it’s just absolutely ridiculous,” Mr Mellis said.
“It’s affecting everybody in town. It’s affecting me because I’ve got 35 vans in here and every morning there’s people whinging at me when they wake up.”
Mrs Mellis said holidaymakers had cut short their time at the van park due to the constant truck movements and she had heard school bus drivers were in revolt over safety issues.
“The road is downright dangerous, yes, the trucks have chopped the hell of it,” Mrs Mellis said.
Council’s civil operations manager Bill Turner said Queensland Transport was aware of the issues raised in the petition.
“There has been enforcement and they have issued some tickets… even 2am enforcement,” he said.
“We are putting traffic counters at each side of quarry entrances, each side of the townships and Capella Rd to see which way they’re going.
“… The trucks are probably not doing more than 40kmh but they’re operating at night with noise and we’re putting signs up asking for everyone with engine and exhaust brakes to be considerate and not use these in urban areas.”
The truck driver in the crash was carting sand to the Goonyella mine, part of an order of 100,000 tonnes from a Gemfields quarry.
A blanket notice will be sent to all quarries reminding them of the restricted operating hours attached to conditions of approval. Truck permits will be modified to conform with those hours.