Get moving: Push to accelerate works on pothole-plagued road
CALLS to fix the pothole-plagued Shute Harbour Rd are ringing out, with a push to accelerate works before more tourists arrive.
However, residents will have to wait until the middle of next year for works to begin, according to a spokesman from the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
In last week's council meeting, Division 1 councillor Jan Clifford grilled council officers on the progress to fix Shute Harbour Rd.
"It looks like downtown Beirut on a bad day," she said.
BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort owner operator Greg McKinnon also raised concerns about the road, saying it put the region in a bad position for incoming visitors.
"When someone's pulling a caravan, and someone who's not usually understanding of what our roads are like, it's very, very dangerous," he said.
"We've had accidents out there where total vans and everything have been wiped out.
"These people haven't been on our roads at all, and that's their welcoming into the Whitsundays, a rough road.
"It doesn't give a good first impression."
Mr McKinnon raised particular concerns about the intersection in front of the caravan park, saying he often had to wait 15 minutes to safely turn onto Shute Harbour Rd due to traffic.
The surface of the road was also a sore point where patches were said to be a temporary solution to a growing problem.
In last week's council meeting Division 5 councillor Gary Simpson also hoped maintenance works would begin soon, especially as the Shute Harbour Terminal rebuild progressed and an estimated 600,000 tonnes of rock would be carted along the road in the coming months.
In response to the questions raised during the council meeting, infrastructure services director Matt Fanning said the council had pushed the Department of Transport and Main Roads to commence works before the end of June but there was no available funding.
"We've impressed on them that we would rather them get that done while things were quiet and before Shute Harbour opens, for instance," he said.
The $12 million upgrade to Shute Harbour Rd will involve the section between Paluma Rd and Valley Dve being upgraded to four lanes as well as intersection improvements.
Earlier this year it was announced that works on the project would be fast-tracked as the Federal Government deemed the stretch a Road of Strategic Importance.
However, a spokesman from the Department of Transport and Main Roads said early works were not scheduled to begin until the second half of 2021.
"We are currently designing two projects in Cannonvale to duplicate the Proserpine-Shute Harbour Rd," he said.
"In October 2019, the Australian Government announced $12 million (joint funding with the Queensland Government 80:20 split) under the Roads of Strategic Importance for Paluma Rd to Valley Dve.
"State Government funding for the $13 million project was announced in May for the section between Valley Dve to Tropic Rd, as part of the $400 million Queensland Economic Recovery Strategy: Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs."
To accelerate the work, the two projects are being designed as one, the spokesman said.
"Detailed design will be completed early next year and the construction contract is expected to be awarded later next year," he said.
"Early works and relocation of public utilities is expected to start in the second half of 2021.
"These works will also include upgrading the intersections between William Murray Dve and Macarthur Dve, improving both safety and road capacity."
However, progress has been made on one part of Shute Harbour Rd with work moving ahead on the installation of bollards in front of the NightOwl convenience store after two crashes earlier this year.
Mr Fanning said the council was waiting on final approvals and that bollards would be installed in the coming months.