UNITED: Politicians join forces to push for section D
POLITICANS from both sides have put up a united front in the fight to fast-track life-saving upgrades to the Bruce Hwy.
Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien and Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders have backed News Regional's push for Section D of the Cooroy to Curra upgrade to be completed ahead of other projects jointly funded by their governments.
This will allow for planning to begin on a four-lane divide of the treacherous stretch between Gympie and Maryborough, where dozens have been killed in head-on crashes.
Mr O'Brien told the Chronicle yesterday if he could secure funding for the upgrade he didn't care if Blinky Bill opened the new section and got the credit, he just wanted lives saved.
As well as providing a safer road for motorists, Mr O'Brien said part of the urgency of the upgrade was to allow for the next stages of upgrades including the stretch north of Curra.
He described Section D as a "game changer" for the region.
"For people travelling between Maryborough and Cooroy it will eliminate eight sets of traffic lights and enable smoother, faster, safer travel," Mr O'Brien said.
"Section D will also help to ensure that Wide Bay communities remain connected when the Mary River floods."
With the State Government already committed to providing 20 per cent of the funding needed for the upgrade, the Federal Government will need to commit to the other 80 per cent of the $1 billion project for it to go ahead.
"The Queensland Government is finalising design for Cooroy to Curra, Section D: Woondum to Curra," a spokesman from Transport and Main Roads said.
Mr Saunders urged the Federal Government to "act now".
He said section D was a vital piece of infrastructure as locals travelled south to visit family and for medical treatment, while businesses used the highway to transport products.
"We've got to get this section done for the safety of all road users," he said "I hope they are listening to our local member and to the people of the region."