Koala in a tree.
Koala in a tree.

Koala walkway to be built on Bruce Hwy to preserve numbers

A SPECIAL tunnel to help koalas cross Bruce Hwy safely will be built as part of the Tinana interchange upgrade.

Koala Care Fraser Coast founder Natalie Richardson said this section of road was notorious for causing koala deaths, contributing to a rapid decline of the marsupial's population in the Tinana area.

 "It's been a really bad spot for koala strikes, and a high volume of koalas have been hit there," Ms Richardson said.

"Our koala population is in trouble, and it's really good that Transport and Main Roads is putting in the tunnel."

University of Sunshine Coast conducted a survey last year looking into koala numbers, which raised fears that the Tinana population was completely wiped out.

But Ms Richardson said they were definitely still there - there was just not many of them.

"Over the years, less and less have been coming into our care," she said.

"And there's less sightings."

The koala walkway will also come with fencing, guiding koalas into the tunnel.

TMR District Director Stephen Mallows said the survey was a catalyst behind the decision to build the infrastructure.

A special koala scat detection dog, named Maya, assisted in confirming the koala population.

CLEVER PUP: Dog Maya confirmed a koala population in Tinana.
CLEVER PUP: Dog Maya confirmed a koala population in Tinana. Contributed

"The survey confirmed that a koala population existed on both sides of the highway and recommended that efforts be made to maintain habitat connectivity," Mr Mallows said.

"All going to plan, the new overpass will be opened to traffic in August 2017."



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