It’s taken 18 years of letters but finally work is starting

GLENORCHY woman Janette Hetherington can finally rest easy - after numerous fatal crashes near her home, she has spent the past 18 years writing letters to the local council, and State and Federal Government to have the road fixed.

Now work has begun to upgrade the black spot, with the Glenorchy Straight on the Bruce Hwy finally to have a $5.2 million upgrade.

Passionate local Ms Hetherington has fought hard to prevent further crashes, like the ones that have happened on the deadly stretch of road, down the street from where she has lived for more than 50 years.

Janette Hetherington campaigned for 18 years for improvements to the Old Gympie Rd intersection.
Janette Hetherington campaigned for 18 years for improvements to the Old Gympie Rd intersection. Valerie Horton

"It's just not a safe bit to drive on."

Some of the recent fatalities include an elderly couple killed in September 2013, when their car was hit from behind by another car, and an 84-year-old man who died in May 2011 when his car collided with a truck.

The road claimed lives in separate crashes in 2009, when in March an 80-year-old man died in a head-on crash, followed only four months later by a 31-year-old man who died the same way in July.

Ms Hetherington said she wrote so many letters asking for change because the section of road and the intersection onto Old Gympie Rd were so dangerous.

"We fought to get a passing lane so the intersection wouldn't be so scary, and that came in about five years ago now," she said.

"I remember seeing a cattle truck almost crash into a car with a caravan and that was when I started the letters, it was so jolly dangerous."

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the upgrade to this area was much needed because of the high number of fatalities.

"Just in the last 12 to 18 months there have been two fatal crashes here," Mr Truss said.

"There's a dip in the road where cars can be completely hidden and is dangerous."

A combination of funding from the Federal and State Governments will pay for better separation between oncoming vehicles, by widening to road to 11m, in the hope to reduce the risk of head-on crashes.

Regional Mayor Gerard O'Connell said he too remembered one fatal crash on the Glenorchy Straight.

"This has been the scene of some horrifying crashes - it's awful," Cr O'Connell said.

"There was one head-on collision that I remember being just so terrible, and being that this is one of the main routes going from the Bruce Hwy into Hervey Bay, as a council we're delighted that both the State and Federal Governments are upgrading it," he said.

Mr Truss, Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders, Cr O'Connell, councillor Phil Truscott and district director of transport and roads Scott Whitaker performed the turning of the sod ceremony at the site on Tuesday.

Mr Saunders said the tenderer, BMD Constructions, would employ people from the Fraser Coast to work on the site.

"As an added bonus, these works will provide 16 direct jobs for workers at a time when jobs and job security are more important than ever," he said.

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