A MAJOR multi-million dollar road project on the Warrego Highway at Haigslea is expected to be finished next month.
That's good news for thousands of motorists caught in a bottleneck on the way home from work every afternoon but the plan is for it to have even better long-term benefits.
In February, the Department of Transport and Main Roads set out to undertake works at the intersection of Claus and Haigslea-Malabar roads on the Warrego Hwy to improve safety.
After the Blacksoil Interchange was finally upgraded, the intersection was one of a number in the area earmarked for safety upgrades in recent years.
A plan was revealed in 2007 and was modified after a woman driver was killed there in 2009. There have also been numerous other crashes and near-misses there.
Apart from the busy highway, the intersection has vehicles emerging from Claus Rd and trucks from Mt Marrow quarry and cars from Haigslea State School merging on to the highway.
A Transport and Main Roads spokeswoman said works included:
Installing concrete median islands on the Warrego Hwy.
Providing an acceleration lane for the right turn onto the Warrego Hwy from Haigslea-Malabar Rd.
Installing designated left-turn lane from Haigslea-Malabar Rd onto the Warrego Hwy.
Improving road signage, guardrail, lighting and line markings.
Installing a formalised bus turnaround facility on Haigslea-Malabar Rd.
"We're nearing completion on the safety improvement project for the intersections of Claus and Haigslea-Malabar roads on the Warrego Highway," the spokeswoman said.
Around the project, the highway west-bound and east-bound has been reduced to one lane with the west-bound side in particular causing big delays in the afternoon rush hours with traffic slowed to jogging pace back to the Walloon turn-off.
At least some of that can be credited to drivers waiting until the last minute to merge into the right-hand lane.
The issue for nearby residents with the Ipswich-bound traffic is cars and motorbikes loudly powering up to 100kmh leaving the roadworks and trucks unnecessarily using their growling engine brakes.
When they started, contractors said they aimed to work on the project predominantly Monday to Saturday between 6am and 6pm to reduce the impact to surrounding residents and motorists.
However, some works on and around the project needed be undertaken during the night and weekends.
The next projects for consideration in the area are the Walloon turn-off and the Minden crossroads.