Marmor fears for traffic
TRUCKS screech to a halt as Reg Shields explains why he thinks the road alongside Marmor Service Station is one of the scariest sections on the Bruce Highway.
“There have been a number of serious accidents and there are close calls every day,” says Reg, who is leading the campaign for the highway to be widened before there is a fatality.
This week Rockhampton Regional Council threw its weight behind calls for an upgrade to access and truck stop facilities at the busy servo.
“It's an issue that has been raised by a number of local associations in the area and Main Roads recognises it's a black spot,” said Reg, chairman of the Bajool, Marmor and District Ratepayers Association.
According to a report to the council's Infrastructure Committee, it will cost $3.5 million to create a safer access to the facility and Main Roads has not been able to find funding.
But Reg is convinced that unless money can be found, someone will be killed.
“It's a 100kmh stretch of highway, but access is such that traffic has to shudder to a stop when trucks are turning into the station.
“We feel there needs to be a turning lane provided. It's an important truck stop and it is being used more and more; that's what's increased the danger.”
He said he thought the delays were purely a matter of funding.
“There's plenty of land available to widen the road,” he said, stressing the organisation only wanted to improve safety and access to the servo and didn't want to interfere with the business.
And John Wells, who lives on the southern side of the station, is so sure there will be a major accident he's taken a traffic controller's course so he can direct traffic when it happens.
Member for Capricornia Kirsten Livermore said she accepted there was a problem and believed there was “black spot” and “truck stop” funding available for the project.
“I think it's a matter for Main Roads to prioritise,” she said.
And the council's engineering services manager, Martin Crow, says he believes work should start sooner rather than later.
“Traffic numbers will undoubtedly continue to grow on the Bruce Highway between Gladstone and Rockhampton,” he said.
“Further development of the mining industry in the southern end of the Bowen Basin, and the likely increase in heavy vehicle movements as a result, will see a need for safety and capacity improvements on this section of the highway.
“The projects to address safety issues at the Marmor Service Station and provide a vastly improved truck stop should be supported.”