MP: Pay up to keep Whitsunday roads high and dry
TWO stretches of major arterial roadway north of Mackay must be raised if the Whitsundays is to escape being cut off every time the region is inundated by heavy rain.
The Bruce Highway, particularly between the O'Connell River and Proserpine, and the Proserpine-Shute Harbour Rd, which leads in to Airlie Beach, were almost cut again this week, just two months after they were closed for more than 48 hours during Tropical Cyclone Debbie.
And it wasn't the first time the roads were closed this wet season.
Now Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan - and the Whitsunday community - have had enough.
"This stretch of the Bruce Highway is the most flood-prone section of the entire highway," Mr Costigan said. "It not only cuts the Whitsundays in half... it cuts Queensland in half. Airlie residents are cut off from the airport and the hospital."
"It's driving people absolutely nuts."
Mr Costigan explained the solution, while costly, was to lift Shute Harbour Rd at Hamilton Plains and upgrade the Strathdickie intersection. "I also would like to see the Bruce Hwy duplicated from the O'Connell River to Proserpine, (raised) higher... and have duel carriageway with an exit ramp to the airport."
The LNP MP is taking aim at the State Government as it finalises preparations for the 2017/2018 Budget.
"I want to see the dough in the State Budget next month," he said.
The flood-proofing of the Bruce Hwy south of Rockhampton at Yeppen Floodplains cost $170million.
That project involved the upgrade of a 2.8km section of road, including a 1.6km bridge.
It's more than 30km between O'Connell River and Proserpine.
A Department of Transport spokesperson said there were plans to improve the flood immunity of Proserpine-Shute Harbour Rd, including Hamilton Plains.