REVEALED: New plan to fast-track Rocky-Yeppoon Rd upgrade
CENTRAL Queenslanders are united in their desire to see the hazardous Rockhampton-Yeppoon Rd upgrade take place soon, but our local politicians are divided over who is to blame for the hold up to construction.
To get the job started sooner, the LNP’s candidate for Keppel Adrian de Groot has made a promise to expedite the process for the road upgrade.
Last week, Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said the Federal Government hadn’t budgeted for the release of its funding for the $80 million road project until next financial year.
She said if it was brought forward, Transport and Main Roads could possibly start construction later this year.
The Federal Government’s Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry maintains that the hold up is on the side of Transport and Main Roads, which has listed the timeline on its website, saying the business case wouldn’t be complete until August next year.
If the LNP was elected following the October 31 election, Mr de Groot said they would make fast-tracking the business case a priority to deliver this vital road upgrade as soon as possible.
He accused Labor of pushing the project “into the slow lane by failing to carry out essential preparatory work for the project – which is being 80 per cent funded by the Federal Government”.
“Labor have been so busy picking fights with Scott Morrison over this project that they neglected to do a business case,” Mr de Groot said.
“The road will not be upgraded until that case is complete.”
“The Federal Government is providing $64 million, but it’s down to Labor to deliver the project and they are not up to the job.”
Mr de Groot said once the business case was completed in August next year, it would be followed by detailed design work before work could begin – even though strategic planning for the project started back in 2017.
“This project is vital for road safety, but it will also create more secure jobs,” Mr de Groot said.
Ms Landry expressed frustration over accusations from Labor that the Commonwealth was holding up the project.
“For them to say to us that we’re holding things up is absolute garbage. Eight million dollars has been brought forward on this project because they asked for it,” Ms Landry said.
“We spoke to Michael McCormack’s office last night. If the state can get their act together and get the business case done sooner, they will have the money sooner.
“So to be big noting themselves and carrying on that we’re holding up the project is absolute garbage. The business case is not going to be finished until August next year.”
Ms Landry was pleased that an LNP government would fast-track this process.
“I’ve actually never heard of a business case being done on a road before and perhaps that does happen. It’s open for public consultation which I hadn’t really heard of either,” she said.
“When I spoke with the Main Roads Department about six months ago, I said what I’d like to see is the access roads fixed, particularly that dreadful stretch near Cawarral where we’ve lost lives and I would like to see four lanes as far as possible.
“Obviously the $80 million won’t do the whole thing and so it’s something we’re going to have to see how far it’s going to go and then lobby for some more money to finish it off.”
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said it was disappointing to see Michelle Landry’s constant negativity on this project, despite the great progress which had been made.
“There are hundreds of millions of jointly-funded dollars being invested for better roads in Rockhampton including a record $80 million committed to Rocky-Yeppoon Road,” Mr Bailey said.
“Yet, time and time again the local LNP continue to talk down the region and its successes.
“Thanks to the advocacy of the Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga, we’re actually starting works later this year on a $5 million upgrade for Rocky-Yeppoon Road between Iron Pot Road and Mackays Road.”
Mr Bailey said those works would play a huge role while they got on with the necessary work to get the Rockhampton-Yeppoon Rd upgrade project off the ground, which included consultation happening now with the community.
“What’s really concerning is Ms Landry’s bizarre comments about ‘never having heard of business cases being done for roads’ despite being in Parliament for seven years,” he said.
“Her comments clearly demonstrates she is out of her depth, doesn’t understand basic long-established processes and has no understanding of how projects get to construction.
“The Labor Government and Brittany Lauga are focussed on Queensland’s economic plan for recovery and record investment in Central Queensland roads for projects like the $157 million northern access upgrade and $1 billion ring road.
“Whether it’s Deb Frecklington or Michelle Landry – the LNP are all the same. They are relentlessly negative and have the wrong focus.”
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said consultation was underway, and it finished at the end of this month.
“It’s really great to see so many people making comments and submissions,” Ms Lauga said.
“It’s an online interactive map where you can actually see the other comments that people have made.”
Ms Lauga said the fact of the matter was that money for the road upgrade was not budgeted by the Federal Government until the following financial year.
“It’s just too far away, we need those jobs in Central Queensland now particularly as we respond to this global pandemic,” she said
“There are things that we can do very quickly and easily with that money if it was brought forward to create those jobs but get the work on this road on the way sooner.”
The community consultation on the upgrade will remain open until the end of August 2020.
To have your say head to www.tmr.qld.gov.au/YeppoonRoadUpgrade
- 2017: Strategic planning started.
- 2019: $80m joint funding commitment from the Australian and Queensland Governments.
- June 2020: Scoping Phase Project Proposal Report (PPR) submitted to Australian Government for review and approval for release of business case development funds.
- June 2020: Approval of Scoping Phase PPR and $10m funding ($8m Australian Government,
- $2m Queensland Government contribution to commence business case development.
- July to August 2020: Community consultation to identify community priorities for targeted upgrades.
- September 2020 to January 2021: Options analysis.
- February 2021 to August 2021: Business case development.
- December 2021: Design commences.
- Early 2023 to mid-2025: Construction (dependent on final scope).
Key features of upgrade
- Increased economic productivity by reducing costs to industry through better efficiency on the route and lower travel times.
- Improved road safety by reducing unsafe overtaking and the associated risks of head-on collisions.
- Increased safety for active transport users.
- Increased route capacity to accommodate future growth in traffic volume through increased economic activity in the region.
- Increased flood immunity.