Gracemere's traffic problems get a $20 million ALP solution
TRAFFIC congestion on Lawrie St has long been a sore point for Gracemere's residents but that's all set to change thanks to a $20 million promise by Labor today.
Flynn's Labor candidate Zac Beers has revealed that if Labor were to win the federal election, Lawrie St would be duplicated, including new bridge over the Blackwater rail line, with a connection through to the Capricorn Highway.
The Morning Bulletin understands that the project would cost a total of $35 million, based on Transport and Main Roads costings for the project in 2017 with Federal Labor looking to contribute $20 million to pay more than half the costs that they would shoulder in partnership with the Queensland Government.
They would look to partner with the Queensland Government to cover the remaining $15 million.
In recent years, Gracemere has experienced rapid residential growth, with a population of over 8,400 and over 21,000 vehicles now travelling on Lawrie Street each day.
Traffic on Lawrie Street is an issue for most people travelling through Gracemere, including parents dropping their kids off at school, locals trying to do their shopping, and commuters travelling onto Rockhampton on the Capricorn Highway.
Not only would the duplication and extra bridge allow an increased number of vehicles to move faster and more freely within Gracemere's urban area, but it would also include upgrades to local government road intersections with traffic signals or alternate safety treatments.
In addition resolving a long-standing traffic issue, Mr Beers said the project will also create numerous secure, well paid jobs for locals over the course of construction.
"Gracemere has been desperate to see this upgrade delivered, and I'm proud that we've been able to secure the funds to make it happen. Anyone who's driven through Gracemere knows just how long overdue this project is,” Mr Beers said.
"It'll mean locals spend less time sitting in the car stuck in traffic and more time at home with their family. Importantly, this project will be completed in consultation with local Central Queensland businesses.
"We'll also make sure that locals are given first crack at jobs created by this project.”
The pressure will now be on incumbent Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd to match Labor's commitment which was expected to be popular with residents.
It comes on the same day that Capricornia MP Michelle Landry matched Labor's candidate for Capricornia Russell Robertson's $20 million commitment to upgrade and maintain Stanage Bay Road - taking the pressure of Livingstone Shire Council and its rate payers.
After learning of the Gracemere funding commitment, Rockhampton Region mayor Margaret Strelow said she was delighted to have been heard, given it was a high priority on RRC's election wish list.
"This is great news for long suffering people of Gracemere who have struggled with the inadequate access at peak hours,” Cr Strelow said.
"The Capricorn Highway now exceeds 18,000 vehicles a day, a lot of these vehicles are coming out through Lawrie St, because they are residents of Gracemere.
"Lawrie St is a key feeder to the highway and is part of the network critical for Gracemere to grow.”
Given that the $75 million Capricorn Highway duplication project, which in the design phase with construction due to start mid-year, Cr Strelow said it was a logical extension of the to go back and "free up” congestion plagued Lawrie St.
"This is the second part of the Capricorn Highway duplication. This is critical to that first duplication doing its job in allowing traffic to flow freely between Rockhampton and Gracemere,” she said.
"This money will make sure that the project goes ahead as originally dreamed. This project is the right move for Gracemere and for Flynn and I think it would be wonderful if Ken O'Dowd followed - it would be an important thing for the people of Gracemere.
"But for now let's celebrate that Zac Beers listened and he and the Labor team are prepared to put forward some money to make sure this project is realised.”