Peak Downs Highway sign. Picture: Tara Miko
Peak Downs Highway sign. Picture: Tara Miko

Claims bridge ‘mess’ is blocking corridor to Bowen Basin

A Paget transport company manager has demanded an urgent upgrade to an old bridge on the Peak Downs Highway, saying it is blocking the delivery of equipment to the Bowen Basin.

Centurion heavy haulage general manager Marc Pritchard said weight limits had been enforced on Bee Creek Bridge near Nebo due to its current state.

Because the highway is the main corridor to the Bowen Basin, Mr Pritchard said the weight limits on the bridge were blocking the delivery of heavy machinery from Mackay to the mine sites.

He said an upgrade of the bridge was years overdue.

“So many companies and coal mines don’t know which way they are sending their equipment,” Mr Pritchard said.

“It’s a bit of a mess.”

A file photo of the Peak Downs Highway near Bee Creek after heavy rainfall.
A file photo of the Peak Downs Highway near Bee Creek after heavy rainfall.

A business case is being finalised for the replacement of the bridge.

The Transport and Main Roads Department is also currently working with consultants to design a rehabilitation treatment of the bridge.

It is anticipated the design will be finalised by mid-2021.

But the LNP said the planning and design for a new bridge had been delayed for two years.

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Opposition leader David Crisafulli, speaking in Mackay on Thursday, urged the State Government to give businesses certainty.

“In this case you have one bridge that is causing people to reassess their investment in the region,” Mr Crisafulli said.

Opposition leader David Crisafulli and Whitsunday MP Amanda Camm in Paget. Picture: Melanie Whiting
Opposition leader David Crisafulli and Whitsunday MP Amanda Camm in Paget. Picture: Melanie Whiting

Whitsunday MP Amanda Camm said she feared the issue would impact the viability of businesses across Mackay Isaac and Whitsunday.

“If mining equipment cannot travel across that bridge, then (companies) will start to make business decisions that protect them,” Ms Camm said.

Mains Roads Minister Mark Bailey fired back, saying the LNP had only recently “discovered how important the Peak Downs Highway is”.

“I think it’s really sad to see David Crisafulli carry on in the same negative way that Deb Frecklington did only a month and a half ago,” Mr Bailey said.

“We are doing the necessary planning work to upgrade the Bee Creek Bridge.”

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