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Federal Labor roads package: $480 million For Bruce Highway in Caboolture and the Sunshine Coast.



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Federal Labor Roads Package - $480 Million For Bruce Highway In Caboolture And The Sunshine Coast

Media Statement - 13th November 2007

Kevin Rudd Martin Ferguson Debbie Blumel Tony Lawrence Darrell Main Jon Sullivan

A Rudd Labor government would invest $480 million to deliver a safer Bruce Highway for Caboolture and the Sunshine Coast, including funds to start fixing one of the most dangerous stretches of road in Australia.

As part of the comprehensive package, there are five projects. Federal Labor’s $480 million plan for Caboolture and Sunshine Coast region roads included:

• $200 million to start work on a bypass of the worst section of the Bruce Highway from Cooroy to Curra; • $195 million to upgrade interchanges at Boundary Road, Bribie Island Road, Pumicestone Road and Johnston Road; • $35 million to rip up and relay five kilometres of damaged highway on

the Nambour Bypass; • $20 million in maintenance money to keep the highway safe; and • $30 million to fix Highway blackspots in Caboolture and the Sunshine Coast.

Despite the fact that 50,000 extra people have moved to the region in the last five years, the Howard Government has allowed the highway to deteriorate so much that it’s literally falling apart - with large, dangerous potholes opening up every time there are heavy rains.

The Howard Government has taken Caboolture and the Sunshine Coast for granted and has lost touch with local businesses and families. Local Federal Labor candidates have been working hard to make sure this region gets a fair share of road funding, and today Federal Labor is delivering.

Federal Labor’s $480 million plan includes $200 million to start work on a bypass of the worst stretch of the national network in Queensland: the Bruce Highway from Cooroy to Curra, through Gympie.

The independent Australian Automobile Association says this is in the worst 2 per cent of national highway in Australia. There have been 529 crashes on this section in the last five years, including 144 in which someone was killed or seriously injured. That is a crash every three days.

Federal Labor’s $200 million will start work on a 65km bypass of Gympie from Cooroy to Curra, providing a new four-lane, 110km/hr highway. Our $200 million plan will drive down the appalling accident rate by providing a safer Highway.

It will also improve quality of life for the people of Gympie by taking 12 000 cars and 3 000 trucks a day out of their town. It’s estimated the new highway will save 15 minutes on a trip from Cooroy to Curra for motorists and truckies under pressure to meet tight schedules.

A 65km bypass is an enormous project, but Federal Labor will kick start it with $200 million to get planning and design moving and properly compensate affected landowners.

Federal Labor’s plan includes $195 million to upgrade interchanges at Boundary Road, Bribie Island Road, Pumicestone Road and Johnston Road. Federal Labor will also construct a new interchange to replace the current intersections at Roys Road and Bells Creek Road.

Up to 80 000 vehicles a day use these interchanges, and with an extra 3 200 cars on the road every year, they’re becoming major choke points. The interchanges - especially Pumicestone Road, Boundary Road and Roys Road

/ Bells Creek Road - also have a history of crashes, and Pumicestone Road has a low bridge with just 4.7 metres clearance.

Federal Labor’s $195 million plan will provide a variety of upgrades, including additional lanes on overpasses, longer and safer on-off ramps and greater clearances under bridges.

Federal Labor will also provide $35 million to rip up and relay 5 kilometre of damaged highway on the Nambour Bypass. This section of the Bruce is cracking under the strain of more trucks with heavier loads.

Large potholes opened up after heavy rains earlier this year, causing damage to dozens of vehicles. But the Howard Government actually cut maintenance money for Queensland from $66 million to $63 million in this year’s Budget.

Federal Labor’s $35 million for this stretch of road will give our road workers the cash they need to do their job properly without having to cut corners. It’ll provide a safer Highway for motorists who currently have to dodge potholes on their daily commute.

We’ll also provide a further $20 million in maintenance money to end the neglect and keep the highway safe.

The final plank in Federal Labor’s plan for Caboolture and the Sunshine Coast is $30 million to fix blackspots and to cut the Highway’s appalling accident rate.

The funding will target the top 10 crash blackspots - like between the Caloundra turn-off and the Buderim turn-off, from Cooroy to Gympie and on the Nambour Bypass. Road safety will be a top priority for a Rudd Labor

government, and a better Bruce Highway will go a long way towards saving lives.

Today’s announcement forms part of a Rudd Labor Government’s commitment to roads under Auslink II from 2009 to 2014. It brings to over $3 billion the amount that Federal Labor has committed for roads in South East Queensland. This includes:

• $480 million for the Bruce Highway in Caboolture and on the Sunshine Coast;

• $1.1 billion to fully upgrade the Ipswich Motorway from Dinmore to Goodna;

• Up to $300 million for an underpass of Kessels Roads at Mains Road;

• $455 million to upgrade the Pacific Motorway in Logan and on the Gold Coast;

• $125 million to get moving now on the $2.5 billion northern missing link from the Gateway Motorway at Nudgee to the Bruce Highway;

• $70 million to start the $1 billion southern missing link from the Gateway Motorway at Mount Gravatt-Capalaba Road to the Pacific Motorway; and

• Up to $500 million to relieve the toll for the Northern Link Tunnel from the Western Freeway at Toowong to the Inner City Bypass at Bowen Hills and package the project for the private sector (funded from AusLink 2 and 3).