May Downs Rd made infamous
CLARKE Creek may have a resident population of just under 200 but collectively, they are fed up with the terribly neglected state of the May Downs Rd.
The 39km stretch of gravel road has been a major concern for the small but vibrant community, which earlier this year jumped at the chance to voice its concerns through the RACQ’s Unroadworthy Roads Survey 2011.
In the final report, 16 people responded to the survey and voted that the slippery, loose and rough surface was the main problem with the road, used by Clarke Creek residents to save valuable time and distance when travelling to the nearest major service centre – Middlemount.
The report stated the December floods made the road damage worse, but respondents didn’t say the May Downs Rd was flood prone.
Peter Quinn lives at the western end of the road and said the section with the 4m low bridge across the Isaac River in particular, had been closed since about September last year.
He said it had opened for about a week, two months ago.
“It (May Downs Rd) is in the worst state I’ve ever seen it,” Mr Quinn said.
“It was designed to handle probably about a 10th of the traffic that’s on it.
“It is terribly neglected and nothing is being done to fix it for the long term.”
Mr Quinn, a resident of the area for more than 40 years, said work was being done to the road and admitted it had improved the surface somewhat.
“But that’s just because there’s no traffic on it at the moment because the road is closed,” he said.
“Two-thirds of the traffic on it is mine and exploration traffic and it wasn’t designed to handle that much.”
Mine workers cut about 30-minutes off their trips by using the road when heading for the coast, Mr Quinn said, and that was a major contributor to its poor state.
The RACQ survey asked Queenslanders to supply information on roads “perceived to be in a poor or inadequate condition, unfit for the function they are designed to perform and not providing an acceptable level of service to the road user”.
More than 2100 responses were received, and the Bruce Hwy predictably ranked the worst state and national-controlled network road.
A number of Central Queensland roads also received submissions (see factbox, right), however, it was the May Downs Rd that attracted the largest number of complaints from road users.
Suggested solutions to the 14 identified problems included raising the road level, resurfacing, widening and rebuilding the road alignment.
More than 60% of all respondents specified the road damage was exacerbated by the earlier extreme weather events while 3% indicated the cyclones and floods caused all of the damage to the nominated road.
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