Our road stretch one of the worst
DRIVERS are going to make mistakes but the RACQ wants to make sure they don’t cost them their lives, by campaigning for upgrades to the Bruce Highway.
RACQ senior traffic and safety engineer Greg Miszkowycz said stretches of the highway north and south of Maryborough had been rated as some of the worst in Queensland with road capacity issues, poor overtaking opportunities, pavement failure risks, substandard shoulders and narrow widths.
“It’s one of the most dangerous roads to drive on,” he said.
Mr Miszkowycz said the three main types of high-speed driving crashes were running off the road, head-on collisions and smashes at intersections.
He pointed out the problems on the highway around Maryborough on Thursday while driving from Glenwood north to Childers.
The first issue he identified was poor road surface, with the bitumen pushed out of shape near the Gootchie Road intersection that would eventually form potholes.
Mr Miszkowycz said a combination of poor soil types that were not conducive to providing solid foundations, wet weather conditions and heavy vehicle traffic meant those sorts of break ups were quite common on the highway.
He said the narrow width of the lanes and shoulders and roadside hazards such as trees, culverts and embankments in certain areas were also of concern.
Mr Miszkowycz said if drivers did run off the road, wider lanes and shoulders and clear zones or barriers beside the road gave the chance to recover and regain control.
“It does provide you with a little bit of leeway,” he said.
Mr Miszkowycz said if a barrier such as steel wires or a guard rail were erected in an area south of Maryborough with little shoulder, tall trees and an embankment, then drivers who lost control would run along the rail instead of ending up down the embankment or hitting a tree.
“People will make mistakes,” he said.
“We want the roadsides to be as forgiving as possible.”
Mr Miszkowycz said a network of overtaking lanes and rest stops was also needed to combat driver frustration and fatigue.
He said the highway around Maryborough carried a high volume of traffic with many cars, caravans and heavy freight vehicles using the road.
Mr Miszkowycz said if people weren’t given regular opportunities to overtake they became frustrated and performed poor overtaking manoeuvres.
He said frequent intersections were another danger area because slow, turning traffic was interacting with high-speed vehicles.
Mr Miszkowycz said right-hand-turn pockets, deceleration lanes and staged crossings where vehicles could cross one lane at a time improved safety.
RACQ is seeking $1 billion over 10 years from the Federal Government to make the Bruce Highway safer as part of its Decade of Action campaign.
“It’s not rocket science,” Mr Miszkowycz said.
“There’s improvements that can be made to the road and road environment that can reduce road trauma.
“We know what we need to do to fix up the roads, we just need the money.”