Northern suburbs gridlock needs fast-tracked solution
27 February 2023
The population explosion in Townsville’s Northern suburbs has created traffic mayhem for commuters who travel this section of highway on a daily basis, but now frustrated residents and road users are being called upon to back a petition to urge Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey to fast-track the necessary road infrastructure upgrades along the Bruce Highway and Woolcock Street.
Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader and Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto, who has plead with Transport Minister Mark Bailey since 2019 for the Government to commit to upgrading this section of highway, said that it was now three and a half years down the track, and no closer to a guarantee as to when the works will commence.
“The stretch from Veales Road intersection to the Ingham Road intersection, is at capacity and the inadequate road infrastructure causes severe congestion that bottlenecks for commuters. In the event of roadwork, flooding or a car accident, traffic comes to a stand-still leaving drivers frustrated with the inadequate road infrastructure.
“Successful lobbing has seen us secure $1.16 million to carry out an option analysis study and commence initial planning along this stretch of road. I’ve been told by TMR officials that we are close to seeing the results of this study.
“But progress has been slow and commuters don’t want to see another study, they expect to see concrete and steel coming out of the ground and a practical solution expediated to solve this growing traffic nightmare. They want a commitment from Government that shows they are willing to fix the problem,” he said.
“This is why I have been working with community advocates, residents, business people and the Principal Petitioner, Thomas Blaszczyk to put this petition together to give everyone a chance to lobby the Minister to commit to expediating this process through to construction.
“With petition numbers hitting 1,300 in just couple of weeks I have high hopes that this growing public pressure will send the right message.”
Local resident and Principal Petitioner, Thomas Blaszczyk, said that as an experienced cyclist he often commutes from Burdell to work but said that the current state of the roadway was so dangerous it deterred others from exploring cycling as an alternate mode of transport.
“Safe passage for cyclists would make the roadway safer for everyone and also reduce the number of cars that add to the congestion,” Mr Blaszczck said.
“The upgrades need to be prioritised and should include additional car lanes and separate pedestrian and cycle paths that continue across both of the Bohle bridges.
“Townsville’s northern suburbs are rapidly growing and all of that traffic combines at the North Shore and Shaw Road intersection. More direct passageways to Shore Road and also Ingham Road will assist to keep the traffic flowing.”
Kody Dart of Belle Property Townsville has been a resident of Townsville’s Northern Beaches for many years and specialises in residential real estate.
Mr Dart said that he has seen how rapidly Townsville’s northern suburbs have developed and are expected to continue to increase.
“In 2022 we saw a record number of homes sold in the Northern Beaches, with ‘lifestyle’ and ‘value for money’ driving new families to the area. Bringing forward the upgrades to the road infrastructure will support this incredible growth and allow the area to continue to thrive.”
Burdell resident, Brodie Phillips, said that he has lived in Burdell for six years and for many residents like himself, the issues with traffic have been going on for more than five years with no action taken.
“For a lot of us here in Burdell, we enter the Bruce Highway right in the heart of the congestion but outer suburbs such as Bushland Beach, Deeragun and Jensen, crawl for kilometres during peak hour times,” Mr Phillips said.
“The congestion adds significant travel time morning and afternoon and that is without accidents, flooding or road closures.
“We can only hope the petition will work and it is high time the State Government provided what is so badly needed out this way to ease the daily commute.”
Cr Margie Ryder for Division 1, who has lived in the area for over 18 years, said that she has seen firsthand how the traffic and travel time into the city has grown dramatically.
“I have spoken with the Townsville Mayor and we will be putting up a motion at the next Council meeting to support the petition and the residents in these northern areas,” Cr Ryder said.
The Hinchinbrook MP launched a parliamentary petition and is urging the community to have their voice and share and sign the petition.
The petition will close on the 14th of April 2023 and can be viewed HERE.