Traffic chaos fuels case for new bridge across Bremer
LAST week's floods and subsequent traffic logjam in the CBD made a compelling case for why funding and construction of a second Bremer River bridge crossing at Norman St needs to be fast-tracked, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said.
Cr Pisasale said he would be writing a letter to federal Minister for Infrastructure Darren Chester on the issue.
It was Groundhog Day in the Ipswich CBD last week as the traffic chaos of 2011 and other floods was repeated with hundreds of residents stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, seeking routes via the David Trumpy Bridge.
The David Trumpy Bridge and surrounds was a carpark with the Don Livingstone Bridge at One Mile, Hancock Bridge at Brassall and the Deebing Creek Bridge near Bremer High all submerged.
What should have been a 15-minute trip turned into an hour or more journey for many commuters.
Emergency services including police and Queensland Ambulance also reported difficulties in getting crews to certain parts of town for call-outs.
Cr Pisasale said the Norman St bridge, was "vital infrastructure for this city".
"Not only to cater for growth but also for emergency services," he said.
"What you saw last week, when all the bridges went out, was the biggest congestion and mess ever.
"The Norman St bridge would have alleviated that congestion and taken people who didn't need to use the CBD away. The whole CBD came to a standstill. Traffic at East St, Downs St and everywhere was a nightmare.
"We were lucky not to have accidents. I don't want to see any deaths so it is vital for the proper infrastructure to go in."
The latest update from the council was that the business case for the bridge was being completed.
"But we have done the business case and we have done all the modelling," Cr Pisasale said.
"Blind Freddie can see that the Norman St bridge is needed.
"Please, build this bridge as matter of urgency before someone is injured and the city is crippled.
"I am writing a personal letter now to the Minister (Chester). This is going to need big federal dollars."
The south-east Queensland Council of Mayors supports the project.
Blair MP Shayne Neumann said he supported Ipswich City Council's plans for a bridge, which will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but needed to see the business case before he could lobby further for it.
"You can't get federal government funding without a business case and I don't recall seeing a business case from Ipswich City Council for the Norman St bridge," he said.
"That business case needs to be delivered to various levels of government and the council needs to get it on Infrastructure Australia's priority list.
"I agree it has been talked about for too long but the preparatory work needs to be done.
"The business case needs to show the economic benefits and the costings.
"I drove over the David Trumpy Bridge on several occasions in the height of the flood and it convinced me there is a need for the Norman St bridge."
Mr Neumann said funding would likely need to come from all three tiers of government.
According to the council's Norman St Bridge website, a second river crossing has been spoken about for at least 20 years and is needed within the next 10.
The business case will consider elements such as savings in travel time, reduction in traffic congestion and crashes, enhanced access to the emerging northern part of the CBD and access during times of emergency.
Opportunities for job creation and commercial development, business confidence and property values are other areas the business case addresses.