Road unable to support highway upgrade

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has taken issue with the design of the Townsville Northern Access Intersections Upgrade.

A KEY road that will feed traffic into an upgraded section of the Bruce Highway at Black River is known to be cut off at times during the wet season, says Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto.

Mr Dametto said two floodways along Black River Road between the Aurora Drive intersection and the exit to the Bruce Highway made it unusable during a recent heavy downpour, resulting in vehicle access being cut off.

Under the Townsville Northern Access Intersections Upgrade (TNAIU), access to the highway via Church Road will be closed, leaving Black River Road as the only access point in that particular area.

“While I agree with residents that the design of this upgrade is problematic, if Transport and Main Roads are intent on ramming this through, then they had better make sure Black River Road is up to scratch. We can’t have an entire community isolated because a main thoroughfare is not equipped to handle our wet season,” Mr Dametto said.

“I will be writing to Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey to highlight this specific issue in order to get an assurance that the road will be improved to not only handle heavy downpours but the expected high volumes of traffic that will be funnelled through under TMR’s proposed design. Ideally though, we want TMR to go back to the drawing board and review the entire design of the TNAIU so it meets community expectations.”

On November 13 last year, Mr Dametto wrote a five-page letter to Mr Bailey regarding the TNAIU to highlight a list of potential design flaws that were brought to his attention by affected road users and property owners in the area.

Mr Bailey responded to Mr Dametto’s letter on December 23, advising that more community consultation was planned for the project.

“Unfortunately, the Minister did not address any of the key concerns highlighted in my letter and instead used the same line about the project delivering improved safety, efficiency and travel times for road users,” Mr Dametto said.

“I acknowledge the Minister made more of an effort to justify the design in his response to a separate Question on Notice I asked him in parliament late last year, but once again showed an unwillingness to consider a redesign of the project.

“It frustrates me that we have reached somewhat of a stalemate but I remain committed to working with all stakeholders on the TNAIU in order to try and achieve a better outcome to what has been proposed.”

Nick Dametto MP