Reports of increased traffic on rural roads at Mount Coolon and Collinsville have prompted safety concerns from within the community. Picture: Liam Kidston
Reports of increased traffic on rural roads at Mount Coolon and Collinsville have prompted safety concerns from within the community. Picture: Liam Kidston

WHO PAYS?: Bulldust and bumpy roads spark safety concerns

BULLDUST and bumpy roads have led to close calls for drivers in western areas of the Whitsundays, prompting questions over who is responsible for maintenance as an unprecedented number of heavy vehicles take to the road.

There are a spate of roadworks and developments under way in the Collinsville and Mt Coolon areas, which Division 6 councillor Mike Brunker said meant there was "a lot of traffic on those roads that hasn't been seen in 50 years."

The Department of Transport and Main Roads is carrying out a sealing project on Bowen Developmental Rd while the council has contracted workers to repair Mount McConnel Rd after it was damaged due to flooding.

On top of this, works on the Adani work camp have resulted in more heavy vehicles travelling along Stratford Rd.

 

 

Operations manager at Pattel's Collinsville Transport Daryl Walsh said the combination of works had led to dangerous conditions and some close calls for drivers.

He was concerned by the amount of bulldust on Mount McConnel Rd as trucks carted material back and forth.

"With the excessive road use, the road is turning into bulldust where it's not been bulldust before," he said.

"You've got tourists travelling up through there in a caravan going to Burdekin Dam.

"They've not experienced bulldust … they could end up off the road."

Mr Walsh also raised concerns about the vehicles travelling to the work camp.

"They're just making the roads rough and it's a full-time job to keep them maintained," he said.

"A lot don't drive to the conditions.

"The speed is making the road rougher, the faster they drive (the more) they're just destroying the road.

"There's 20 or 30 trucks running out there and they're all trying to make a dollar but don't seem to be concerned with public safety."

Adani Mining chief executive David Boshoff. Works are under way for the construction of an Adani work camp at Mount Coolon. Picture: Cameron Laird
Adani Mining chief executive David Boshoff. Works are under way for the construction of an Adani work camp at Mount Coolon. Picture: Cameron Laird

Mr Walsh said some of his drivers were concerned for their own safety as well as the safety of other road users.

Cr Brunker brought these concerns to the last Whitsunday Regional Council meeting and questioned who was responsible for the maintenance of these roads.

"The combination of everything means there's massive amounts of traffic going on those roads," he said.

"We need to make sure those responsible for fixing them are doing that in a timely manner and that we have our equipment on the road to make sure the maintenance is done.

"It's about a three-prong approach; the Department of Main Roads needs to make sure they're keeping up their maintenance, the mines are making sure they are and we've got to make sure our guys are doing it as well."

Cr Brunker also asked who was responsible for paying for the damage to the roads, a question that the council's infrastructure services director Matt Fanning said would be further investigated.

Division 6 councillor Mike Brunker raised concerns about the state of roads around Collinsville and Mt Coolon. Picture: Jordan Gilliland
Division 6 councillor Mike Brunker raised concerns about the state of roads around Collinsville and Mt Coolon. Picture: Jordan Gilliland

A spokesman from Adani said agreements were in place to make sure roads were maintained.

"Like all Queensland resources companies, we are required to compensate state and local governments for the use of roads to ensure ratepayers are not directly or indirectly burdened by these costs," he said.

"We have formal agreements in place that set out our responsibilities to fund upgrades to existing roads, develop some new roads and maintain roads that are used by our contractors, employees and others associated with the construction and operation of our project."

A spokesman from the Department of Transport and Main Roads also said regular monitoring and upgrades would continue with increased traffic in the area because of the works.

"We regularly monitor our road network and carry out maintenance and repairs as required," he said.

 

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"New mines are required to submit an impact assessment if their heavy vehicles are used on state-owned roads to determine whether they need to make contributions towards maintenance.

"Local government roads, such as Stratford Rd in Mt Coolon, may follow a similar process."

Cr Brunker said safety would be reliant on the council, the Department of Transport and Main Roads and Adani contractors all maintaining their respective roads.

"You've got to crack an egg to make an omelette, we realise that, and if the graziers know the millions of dollars that are being spent on that road they'll be prepared to put up with a bit of grief knowing that the end result is going to be a lot better for them," he said.


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