Tradies help drive peak commute time to an hour earlier
TRADIES' making an early start to beat the traffic on the daily commute to Brisbane have pushed peak hour back to 5am, an hour earlier than it was in 2010.
Traffic data obtained by peak motoring body, the RACQ, shows a sharp rise in the number of commuters leaving even earlier each morning with an 85% increase over five years in 4am traffic volumes.
The 85% increase in volumes at 4am and 11% increase at 5am have reduced pressure on the still heavily-congested 6am flows which have fallen 6% and 7am flows which are down two per cent.
The 6am period is the day's second busiest with 6281 vehicles in the hour compared with 6937 from 5am.
In the hour from 7am there are 5598 vehicles on the road.
After two and a half years on the Sunshine Coast University Hospital project Casey Flynn of Mudjimba now heads south to North Lakes every morning, carpooling from Aussie World at 4.45am.
He says the traffic is constant every day before coming to a stop at Anzac Avenue which feeds into bay side Redcliffe.
Casey, who works on a construction site at North Lakes, knows a number of Sunshine Coast tradesmen working on building sites at the RNA and Southbank whose daily commute starts at 3.30am.
They need to be up that early because of the 45-50 minutes it takes to get from Brisbane's northern suburbs to the CBD.
"There are cranes everywhere in Brisbane as well as infrastructure projects that all start work from 6am,'' he said.
RACQ spokesperson Lauren Ritchie said the data, obtained from the Department of Transport and Main Roads, revealed how important the Bruce Highway corridor was to workers commuting to Brisbane job sites from the Sunshine Coast and the capital's northern growth suburbs.
"We didn't just see more cars on the road first thing in the morning, we saw a significant increase in traffic volumes on the Bruce right across the day, including a 26% rise in the number of cars travelling at 4pm," Ms Ritchie said.
There are now 71,859 vehicles passing the Pine River Bridge in the 15 hours between 4am and 7pm each week day an increase of 13% in the past five years.
Ms Ritchie said the data showed how important it was for Sunshine Coast locals to have access to adequate infrastructure.
"As numbers increase, we need to be sure that the infrastructure can keep up," she said.
"We'd urge more commuters to consider alternatives, like car-pooling or using public transport where possible to ease congestion on the Bruce Highway.
"Just 10% of south east Queenslanders choose to travel by bus or train. An improvement in that area would help ease traffic woes".
Traffic flows have increased significantly throughout the day compared with those five years ago.
The 4005 vehicles in the hour from noon is the smallest between 5am and 6pm but still 18% up on 2010.
Data for each hour through to 4pm also shows increases of 18% when it then jumps 26% to 4688 in the hour.
MRCagney traffic consultant Steven Burgess said while building more lanes may make sense to someone grid-locked on the highway the huge amount required for duplication could be put to better use.
He says the hundreds of millions of dollars involved would be better spent building local economies on the Sunshine Coast and Caboolture so they could employ more of their communities.
"Widening roads so people can get to jobs in the city doesn't make sense,'' Mr Burgess said.
"Promoting regional economic growth makes more sense than widening roads to get people to work in someone else's town.
"The level of congestion will never change. It's just a money pit.
"I can understand it would make sense to someone stuck in traffic but decision makers need to be smarter than that."
RACQ spokesperson Lauren Ritchie said a coordinated solution to increased congestion would require input from local, state and federal governments.
She said the motoring organisation recognised the need for and had advocated for duplication of the north coast rail as part of the solution.