IA questions Queensland's figures on Toowoomba crossing

Federal infrastructure body says it will be "surprised" if second range crossing is built at the price proposed by Queensland

By Brad Gardner | February 19, 2013

Federal infrastructure advisory body Infrastructure Australia (IA) has questioned if a second range crossing at Toowoomba can be delivered at the price submitted by Queensland.

IA National Infrastructure Coordinator Michael Deegan says the group is currently working with the state on the development of a proposal to be submitted to the Federal Government.

Queensland wants to build a bypass route from the Warrego Highway to the Gore Highway to improve transport capacity and provide trucks with an alternative to using the main street of Toowoomba. It estimates the project will cost $1.6 billion, lower than the figure of $1.75 billion outlined in a 2008 case study.

"On the presentation we saw the other day I would be surprised if it came in as low as $1.6 billion but that is the detail we need to work through," Deegan says.

"I am aware that there are some alternative proposals that may be cheaper and we will be opening that discussion up with the Queensland Government."

Deegan says IA is also working with the Queensland Government to determine how long it will take for the project to be completed.

Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson has listed the second range crossing as a priority on a list of projects the state wants the Federal Government to support. The list will be handed to Labor and the Coalition ahead of this year's federal election.

The federal Coalition has promised to spend $700 million on the second crossing. Queensland state MP Trevor Watts says the route is necessary to remove trucks from Toowoomba’s streets and he has suggested a toll as a possible option to cover the funding shortfall.

However, the 2008 case study says a proposed $3 toll for light vehicles, a $15.02 toll for rigid trucks and a $20.61 toll for multi-combination trucks will only generate a small amount of revenue, meaning the project "will still require a considerable amount of government contribution".

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