New highway route to go ahead
FEDERAL Environment Minister Peter Garrett’s decision to veto the proposed Traveston Crossing Dam will have no impact on the improvements currently being made to the Bruce Highway, a Main Roads spokesperson said.
“This project is not conditional upon the proposed Traveston Crossing Dam and the decision by the Federal Government not to approve the dam will have no impact on the road project,” the spokesperson said.
Warren Truss, Federal Minister for the Wide Bay, however, said the route that had been decided on for the realignment of the Bruce Highway would never have been chosen if the State Government hadn’t planned the road around the Traveston dam.
Mr Truss said the public had chosen another route, more in line with the existing route of the Bruce Highway but the proposed dam meant that route could not go ahead.
The route that was now being constructed was more expensive and less direct than the route the public chose, which would have been possible without the Traveston dam, Mr Truss said.
“It’s not what the public wanted.”
Mr Truss said the route would have to go ahead as planned now.
“We’re stuck with the route now.
“It would set work back a year if they decided to go with the preferred route.
“There is little option but to proceed with this route.”
The spokesperson said Section B of the highway had been designed as a superior four-lane divided highway, which will be out of the way of the Mary River floodplain and above the level of a once-in-100-year flood.
“The review found the current alignment was the preferred alignment for the upgrade and the eastern alignment was endorsed by both state and federal government ministers,” the spokesperson said.
“Since federal and state funding was confirmed in May 2009 work on this, the most critical section of the Cooroy to Curra project, is underway.
“There has been significant preliminary and clearing works undertaken since July and major construction is progressing at full steam.”
Mr Truss said avoiding a once-in-a-hundred year flood was the only advantage the route offered.
“Once every hundred years the road won’t be flooded whereas under the preferred route it would have been,” he said.
“It’s a small advantage.”
This section of the project is expected to be completed in 2012.