Tinana interchange is finally open to traffic again
TODAY is the first time in eight months Tinana's Pastry Creations owner Tracy Riley has felt confident enough to roster on extra staff.
The Tinana interchange reopened to the public overnight, after it was closed in January for construction.
"It will make a huge difference," Ms Riley said.
"It's been really hard. We've lost between $200 and $400 a day."
The interchange upgrade is expected to make the Maryborough entrance off the Bruce Hwy safer and reduce the severity and number of crashes.
Two men were killed in June 2011, after the truck they were in crashed off the side of the Gympie Rd overpass.
A petition was launched to improve the overpass by Shirley Bennett, whose son Robert Cook was the driver of the truck involved in the fatal crash, after the State Government masterplan listed the interchange as needing an upgrade.
It was put in the least urgent category, with a wait of 11 to 20 years.
Thanks to the State and Federal Governments, drivers didn't have to wait that long.
The project cost $38 million and was jointly funded by the State and Federal Governments.
"Now, hopefully with the road open we'll get people stopping, getting coffees, and I can actually get my staff back again," Ms Riley said.
"It's been a long time coming, eight months is a long time waiting for that road to open."
Ms Riley said she had been forced to lay off two staff members because of the downturn in her business.
The Federal Government committed $30.4 million and the State Government contributed $7.6 million.
Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders said when both levels of government worked together, the constituents win.
"I'm excited to see it open," he said.
Mr Saunders said he knew it had been a tough time for the businesses in Tinana.
The Labor MP said he had experienced roadworks as a small business owner as well and it was challenging.
"It's unfortunate but we had to do it," he said.
Mr Saunders said with the Tinana interchange now open again, he was confident businesses would get their trade back.
While the highway has reopened, work at the site will continue, with traffic signal installation at the Iindah Rd intersection to be carried out later this year.