Bearing the haul burden
ROAD safety experts were "amazed" and "concerned" by the number of heavy haulage vehicles travelling the Capricorn Highway during an inspection road tour from Barcaldine to Rockhampton last week.
RACQ traffic and safety executive manager John Wilkman and senior traffic and safety engineer Greg Miszkowycz scrutinised the highway over a two-day period, ironically only just missing Friday's horrific cattle truck rollover east of Emerald by a matter of minutes.
"We were particularly concerned about the number of large heavy haulage trucks on the road between Alpha and Emerald," Mr Wilkman said.
"Leading into Emerald we passed a lot of trucks heading either way, they appeared to be coal trucks, and there's a lot of them."
The trucks described are the result of an operation carting coal from Hancock Coal's Alpha mine test pit to Blackwater.
Mr Wilkman said the experts were also alarmed by the lack of overtaking opportunities and a few sections of dangerously narrow road west of Emerald.
However, for the most part, the investigative team was "pleasantly surprised" by the quality of the highway following the floods.
"In some parts the (road) profile drops from nine metres wide to six or seven, and that was concerning," Mr Wilkman said.
"Any section with a profile under eight metres wide that exists on the network we recommend should be upgraded and widened, especially if motorists are sharing the road with so many heavy haulage vehicles.
"We would also like to see more overtaking opportunities and Main Roads assured us they are keen to get more in as well."
The experts commended the use of audio tactile lines in both the centre and edge of the highway in sections between Emerald and Blackwater.
They said the road works occurring east of Emerald were a sign NDRRA funding was being put to good use.
"It looks as though they have got it fairly under control, the money is coming through and the work is getting done," Mr Wilkman said.
Mr Miszkowycz urged motorists to be aware of the road works.
"It may extend your travel time and cause a little bit of frustration, but take it easy and give yourself a bit of time. In the long run it is good to see the work being done because it means a better, stronger highway," Mr Miszkowycz said.