Ipswich Motorway upgrade a lifesaver
THE upgraded Ipswich Motorway has proved to be a lifesaver for motorists with the new stretch of highway fatality free since its opening last year.
Statistics released by the Department of Main Roads show the number of crashes resulting in hospitalisation has also dropped.
The $2.8 billion upgrade was completed last May. Part of the Ipswich Motorway was given a five-star rating in an Australian Road Assessment Program report last week.
Last year 10 people were hospitalised after crashes on the upgraded road. So far this year just one person has been hospitalised.
This continues a downward trend in serious traffic accidents on the motorway since 2007, when two people were killed and 33 were hospitalised.
Blair MP Shayne Neumann said improving safety was one of the main reasons for the upgrade.
"It's not just about economic development and opening up the western corridor; it's about the lives and lifestyles of people in the West Moreton region," he said. "That's why the last section needs to be done. The blockage is there for all to see in peak hour traffic and that's what causes accidents."
A Transport and Main Roads spokesperson said motorist safety was the top priority during the upgrade.
The design included upgraded interchanges, all mergers from the left-hand lane, concrete barriers and service roads at Wacol, Darra and Richlands removing local trips.
The upgraded motorway also features a state-of-the-art intelligent transport system, comprised of overhead gantries, variable speed limits, incident detection and traffic data loops, close circuit television and dynamic messaging signs.
"The result of the upgrade is a comprehensive, integrated and sustainable transport solution which adds capacity to the road and improves safety," the spokesperson said.
"As well as being designed to improve safety, the upgrade delivers quicker, less frustrating driving conditions for people living in Brisbane's western suburbs and Ipswich.
"Residents and commuters are enjoying smoother trips and more reliable travel times."
Mayor Paul Pisasale said the statistics spoke for themselves.
"It's fantastic, not only for myself and the RACQ, but the families of the region appreciate it as well."