Michelle Leeson is petitioning for upgrades to the Bruce Highway after her immediate family members all died in a car accident on Australia Day.
Michelle Leeson is petitioning for upgrades to the Bruce Highway after her immediate family members all died in a car accident on Australia Day. Lee Constable

Calls for horror highway fix

IT WAS the one thing a grieving Michelle Leeson felt she had to do.

After the tragic death of her parents, Peter and Diane Burridge, and siblings Mark and Kristy on Australia Day this year Mrs Leeson put together a petition to fix the Bruce Highway.

With the support of Member for Mirani Ted Malone, Mrs Leeson is hoping to gather 6000 signatures to present to the Queensland Parliament when it sits in Mackay in May.

Her family was travelling to Gympie from Sarina for a funeral when the horrific crash occurred on a notorious stretch of the Bruce Highway at Etna Creek, near Rockhampton.

Mrs Leeson said the last few months had been difficult.

“We have good days and bad days; this is just something that I felt I needed to do, so my family didn’t die in vain.

“I also wanted to stop having someone else go through this pain that we are all in at the moment – so it is really important that we try and make a change.”

Mrs Leeson is requesting that the Queensland Government undertake a detailed safety audit and analysis of the Bruce Highway between Rockhampton and Mackay, with a particular emphasis on overtaking lanes and rest stops; the depth of table drains; the quality and condition of road shoulders; obstacles close to the road; and providing adequate and safe buffer areas for motorists to leave the road in an emergency situation.

“We are calling for a safety audit and we focused on key factors that I felt contributed to my family’s death,” she said.

“We couldn’t have avoided the accident I don’t think, it was one of those freak things, but the depth of the drain that was there and the tree that they hit was massive, so I feel that we need more passing lanes, where there would be less urgency for people to take risks.

Mrs Leeson feels that if there weren’t such deep drains and large trees along the highway her family might have survived their accident.

“To us it is very real now; it is something we focus on because it worries us immensely.

“When it happens to your own family it brings it home and makes it all the more important, but from our perspective with our family’s accident, they hit a big drain, became airborne and hit a tree and died instantly.

“Obstacles on the side of the road do contribute to people’s deaths,” she said.

Mr Malone said there were many areas along the highway that needed to be upgraded.

“We had the idea to campaign earlier on about doing an audit on the road and, with Michelle, I am trying to push that again because I think there are areas that they need to be looking at.

“I think it is a matter of continuing to push the issue and just making the Federal Government – even the State Government for that matter – realise that the Bruce Highway is a very important part of how life works in Queensland.

Mr Malone said the danger in the Bruce Highway was the basic construction of the road.

“That is why I am calling for an audit ... you have got to understand what the problems are before you can fix them.

“And I think that is the basis of where I am trying to come from. It doesn’t cost much more to build a road with a table drain that you can actually drive through,” he said.

“I might be wrong, but you should be able to drive off the road and slow up under natural braking without having a major accident. It has to be clear, with no major obstructions for you to be able to do that”.

Mr Malone said there were many people who had had accidents and close calls on the Bruce Highway.

“I think it is getting to a stage where there has to be a major overhaul and a look at the highway and the amount of trucks that are using it, the speed they are going and the little reverence they have for smaller cars,” he said.



Gallery: Yeppoon Races - check out the fashions on the field

Gallery: Yeppoon Races - check out the fashions on the field

Were you snapped by our photographer at the races?

Doblo says Rookwood won't have enough water for agriculture

Doblo says Rookwood won't have enough water for agriculture

He reopens the debate on "thinking big” about the Gap Dam project.

Battle of the beach as Yeppoon, Emu Park face off tonight

Battle of the beach as Yeppoon, Emu Park face off tonight

Seagulls looking to extend their unbeaten run in local league

Local Partners