O'Brien: Gov't must 'step up' to prevent further road deaths
WORK to upgrade a dangerous stretch of Bruce Hwy near Maryborough is expected to begin as early as Wednesday, as Fraser Coast MPs call for the government to "step up" to prevent further road deaths in the region.
Federal member for the Wide Bay Llew O'Brien said the $18.36 million upgrade to the section of the main thorough-fair had been in the pipeline for a while, but it marked the beginning of his campaign to improve other parts of the highway.
This promise followed the tragic deaths of six people in crashes on the Bruce Hwy between Gympie and Maryborough in the last month.
"As we all know the Bruce Hwy north of Gympie has been the scene of some absolute tragedy in the past few months and several people have been killed on the road and government needs to step up, both State and Federal," Mr O'Brien said.
"Bruce [Saunders] and I are working together on this, we need to do more and this is the start."
One of the police officers overlooking the investigations into the recent fatal crashes, Forensic Crash Unit Sergeant Steve Webb, said as much as he welcomed the upgrade to the highway, road safety remained a responsibility of drivers.
"I can honestly say in 24 years, doing hundreds of these things, there have only been one or two incidents we could call an accident; where everything has conspired against a person and they've met their demise," Sgt Webb said.
"Ultimately it's up to the drivers to get there in one piece, road improvements obviously help, but I seem to find that you can improve the road, but drivers always find a way to get themselves into trouble."
The works will include new and extended overtaking lanes, a widened median strip and new turning lanes at intersections.
The upgrades are set to be finished by the end of the year, and have been jointly funded by the State and Federal Governments.
State member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said the upgrade was an example of opposite political parties working together to save lives.
"This is not about the Federal Member for Wide Bay and myself, this is about making sure that people can safely use the road," Mr Saunders said.
The intersections to be upgraded as part of the works include Tahlia Ln, Canterwood Rd, Petersen Rd and Hoffman Rd.