OVER 2000 vehicles that travel between Mt Morgan and Rockhampton daily will benefit from a multi-million dollar upgrade of a route down the mountain to cater for trucks from a new mine project.
Rockhampton Regional Council today discussed the proposed route in the Planning and Regulatory Committee meeting, endorsing the route outlined in an officer's report to be submitted to Carbine Resources - the company that owns the gold mine at Mt Morgan.
The plan includes four major upgrades along the route which will travel down Razorback Rd - which currently has 2000 vehicle movements a day.
The conceptual cost estimate of the project is $5.4 million.
From January 1, 2018 to 2026, Carbine Resources proposes to haul around 209,000 tonne of pyrite per year along Gordon Lane, Creek Street/Razorback Road and Poison Creek Road.
The route will meet up with the Bruce Highway so trucks can travel between the mine and the Gladstone Port.
Planning and Regulatory Committee Chair Ellen Smith said council established a number of areas, particularly on Razorback Road that will need to be upgraded for the safety of the trucks and other motorists.
"Carbine is proposing to use 19-metre long trucks and Quad Dogs to haul pyrite between 7am and 6pm for 12 months of the year, which will traverse on Razorback Road," Cr Smith said.
"It is estimated that two vehicles in each direction will be on the route in a peak hour and therefore significant safety improvements need to be made to cater for these heavy vehicles."
The committee members discussed the proposed route in depth raising concerns for property owners' safety turning into their driveways while trucks are travelling behind them at 80kms an hour; flood immunity opportunities; noise reduction structures; reduction of speed limits; resting bays; and the possible need for stop signs at one intersection.
This will be the biggest project operating in Mount Morgan since the mine closed in 1992, delivering 70 direct local jobs, plus a further 120 jobs in construction.
"It is impossible to run a mine in the middle of a town without having any issues,” Mayor Margaret Strelow said.
The committee also discussed with officers alternative routes - The Mt Morgan Range or going via Dululu.
"The Range presents a lot of issues,” council's Strategic Infrastructure coordinator Stuart Harvey said.
"To run trucks up there they (Carbine) would need pilots.”
He said the Dululu route would result in doubling the distance of the Razorback Rd route.
"This (Razorback) presents the most direct route,” Mr Harvey said.
The meeting heard any noise reduction infrastructure to protect residents near the mine site would be dealt with under Carbine's environmental approvals.
- Widen two reverse curves on Creek Street/Razorback Road to allow for a 4.2m lane on the inside of the curve. This involves providing a guardrail to protect steep verge grades and existing services, and extending existing culvert structures.
- Widening of the "jump up" on Razorback Road (the steepest part of the Razorback Road) to 8.5m and provide recoverable batter slopes outside this 8.5m seal with a guardrail.
- The intersection Razorback Road and Poison Creek Road which will allow for a dedicated right turn lane for vehicles turning into Poison Creek Road and a wider radius for vehicles turning left into Razorback Road. Works will also include some widening of the existing Razorback Road floodway, north of the intersection.
- Upgrade of Poison Creek Road Western floodway to allow for two heavy vehicles to pass one another. The floodway will be widened to 8 metres and will include a low flow pipe to accommodate for less significant rain events.
- Access to Gordon Lane - The mine access onto Gordon Lane is proposed to be widened to cater for a basic left intersection configuration, resulting in a 1m - 2.25m road widening and an asphalt seal. This asphalt will cover the intersection and extend into the mine site to reduce dust issues for residents.
- Carbine Resources will also be required to pay council an upfront fee for maintenance and rehabilitation works along the route for the life of the proposed use for mine product hauling. This has been set at 43 cents a tonne which equates to $814,551