$16.55 million of upgrades to make Bruce Hwy safer
THE horror stretch of Fraser Coast highway, which has claimed dozens of lives in recent years, has just become safer.
Works on a six-kilometre section of the Bruce Hwy north of Tiaro have been completed by the State Government in the latest set of upgrades to the major transport route.
The $16.55 million worth of upgrades include a new northbound overtaking lane being constructed, building dedicated turning lanes and extending a southbound overtaking lane south of Maryborough.
For Wide Bay MP Llew' O'Brien, a long-time campaigner for safety works on the Bruce Hwy, it means risks of turning on and off the highway have been reduced.
"These safety improvements have substantially reduced the risks associated with turning onto and off the highway at Tahlia Lane, Canterwood Road and the Old Gympie Road and Petersen Road intersections," Mr O'Brien said.
"The Bruce Highway between Gympie and Maryborough is notoriously dangerous and this new upgrade will improve safety along this section.
"But there is a lot more work to be done, and the immediate priority needs to be the Cooroy to Curra Section D project, which will be a gamechanger for motorists travelling between Maryborough and Cooroy."
His comments come days after a petition was launched calling for the House of Representatives to fast-track the construction of Section D of the Cooroy to Curra highway upgrade.
This project includes a bypass of Gympie with a corridor running east of the town, close to the railway line until Old Maryborough Rd.
Mr O'Brien said road safety was a top priority for motorists in the region.
"Too many lives have been lost in horrific fatal accidents and too many people have suffered from serious injuries in crashes on the Bruce Highway between Cooroy and Curra," Mr O'Brien said.
"Section D is a congestion buster, taking heavy vehicles out of Gympie, enabling faster travel between Maryborough and Cooroy, and improves access to the Cooloola Coast."
The Bruce Hwy has become infamous as one of Australia's most dangerous roads in recent years.
In Easter 2017, two siblings were killed in a horrific head-on collision south of Tiaro.
A few weeks later, a 45-year-old man, his nine-year-old boy and one-year-old girl were killed in a horror crash near Gunalda, 5km north of Curra.
RACQ statistics predict at least 350 deaths and 5000 injuries on the Bruce Hwy over the next decade if no future action is taken.
In 2014 the highway was named as one of the world's top 25 most dangerous roads.