Toowoomba bypass critically needed

Southern Queensland's Toowoomba is chocked with truck traffic as the city's western rail line remains closed due to flood damage

By Ruza Zivkusic | March 3, 2011

A bypass is urgently needed for Southern Queensland’s Toowoomba, which has more than 6000 trucks roll through its streets every day.

Member for Toowoomba South Mike Horan is calling on the Federal Government funding the infrastructure, saying the flow of trucks is restricting the operation of local businesses.

The town’s western rail line remains closed until April due to flood damage. Trucks are instead carrying coal and grain, passing through the town’s 16 sets of traffic lights.

"It’s made an almost intolerable situation even worse, we’ve been fighting here for about 16 years to get a bypass built that would save the trucks approximately one hour into going to the Warrego Highway," Horan says.

"It’s a social blight on the city; people who want to use the main roads to take their kids to school or do business generally have to try and avoid it because it’s chocked with trucks and you’ve got many businesses that you can’t get in and out of because their entrances are blocked by trucks waiting at traffic lights," he adds.

Grain and cattle producers, who usually transport via the rail network, are now using trucks.

The three major mines operating in the Surat Basin are Wilkie Creek, Syntech Resources’ Cameby Downs mine near Miles and New Hope’s Acland coal mine.

"If the government builds the bypass it would allow the trucks to cross the range at about 80kms an hour, with no traffic lights they would save almost one hour in time," Horan says.

"For the trucking industry the savings would be massive; for the city it would remove the social blight we’ve got and during the recent floods and disasters we were cut off in every direction but when they did open up Toowoomba Range Highway we had that many landslips and problems that we had four lanes of traffic, mostly trucks, going from the edge of the range right back into the CBD of the city."

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