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Upgrade comes too late for elderly couple

An elderly couple was killed in a horror crash on the Glenorchy straight at Owanyilla last year.
An elderly couple was killed in a horror crash on the Glenorchy straight at Owanyilla last year.

THE promise to upgrade the notorious stretch of road known as the Glenorchy straight has come far too late as far as one Tinana man is concerned.

John Penttila's father Esko and his father's partner Aini Martikainen were killed last year when their station wagon was hit from behind by an oncoming car while they were attempting to turn onto Old Gympie Rd from the Bruce Hwy at Owanyilla, propelling them into the path of an oncoming truck.

The elderly couple died instantly.

Yesterday Member for Wide Bay and Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss announced the $5.2 million upgrade, which will see the road widened to 11 metres on about two kilometres of the highway and the installation of a wide centre median strip.

Protected turning lanes will also be built at the intersections of the highway and Old Gympie Rd and Eight Mile Rd.

A much-needed upgrade of the Tinana interchange has also been promised, with $38 million to be spent on the interchange where two men lost their lives in a horrific crash on the overpass in 2011.

Mr Penttila said his father often spoke of how dangerous the Glenorchy Straight was.

Esko had lived on Old Gympie Rd for more than 30 years and had to negotiate the danger on a regular basis.

He and Aini had decided to move into town, but were visiting their property that day to feed the cattle they kept on their small farm.

Mr Penttila said the upgrade was coming 20 to 30 years too late for those who had already lost their lives on that stretch of road.

"My dad died there," he said.

"It would be good if that was the catalyst for something good."

Mr Penttila had been in touch with the Department of Main Roads several times since the crash that claimed his father's life, including suggesting double white lines in the spot where the crash happened in an effort to prevent dangerous overtaking, but he said that had fallen on deaf ears.

He said he hoped the upgrade happened sooner rather than later.

Topics:  crash, editors picks, highway, owanyilla



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