QUEENSLAND motorists fork out more than anyone in the country to register their cars and have licences to drive them, so why are our roads ranked as the worst?
The state's peak motoring body is calling on the Federal Government to implement urgent upgrades to the Bruce Highway, particularly the notoriously dangerous sections - Cooroy to Curra and Caloundra to Cooroy - to give motorists more bang for their buck.
RACQ External Relations general manager Paul Turner said essential upgrades to the highway were long overdue, resulting in sub-standard roads that put motorists' lives at risk every day. Mr Turner said each day an average of 50,000 cars drive the Bruce Highway between Brisbane and Caloundra.
The Queensland Government has identified 60 priority investments for the highway in a 20-year Bruce Highway Upgrade Strategy document, which will require approval and funding from the Federal Department of Infrastructure and Transport to go ahead.
Mr Turner said Sunshine Coast projects including six-laning and upgrading intersections from Caloundra Rd to the Sunshine Motorway, upgrading interchanges and intersections from Pine Rivers to Caloundra and upgrading the 13km link from Cooroy to Sankeys Rd should be given priority.
"If all these upgrades are implemented it will go a long way towards improving safety and traffic efficiency, as well as reducing congestion for motorists," he said.
"But we can't wait 20 years for these projects to happen - funding needs to be provided now.
"It is frustrating as what we are seeing at the moment is a lot of talk from all levels of government, a lot of plans, feasibility studies and strategies but not a genuine commitment to bring major roads like the Bruce Highway up to scratch. We want to see dollars tied to projects, tied to a schedule."
A spokeswoman for Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese said the government was investing a record $2.8 billion in the Bruce Highway through the current Nation Building Program.
"Additional funding for further upgrades of the Bruce Highway - including additional sections between Cooroy and Curra - will be considered at a later stage," she said.
Mr Turner said the main concerns raised by motorists were a lack of overtaking lanes, rough and narrow surfaces, poor road shoulders, poor alignment, narrow bridges, flooding, poor drainage and pot holes.
RACQ'S TOP PRIORITY LIST
Provide six lanes and upgrade intersections on the 5.2km link from Caloundra Rd to the Sunshine Motorway - $5 million allocated by Department of Transport and Main Roads to a planning study. Construction timeframes subject to federal funding.
Upgrade interchanges and intersections from Pine Rivers to Caloundra, including Roys Rd and Bells Creek Rd. Median strips at Roys and Bells Creek Rd closed on August 29. Plans for interchanges subject to federal funding.
Upgrade the 13km link from Cooroy to Sankeys Rd - part of the notorious Cooroy to Curra stretch. $200 million committed by Federal Government for planning and land acquisition.
Preliminary design for this section (A) will be complete in 2011 with design to be complete in 2012. Construction yet to be determined.
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