RECENT RANGE DRAMAS SHOW NEED FOR URGENT ACTION
DEAR Queensland Treasurer, Curtis Pitt,
I write to you as a Far Northerner to another Far Northerner imploring you to give immediate attention to the appalling state of the Kuranda Range Road.
Yet again another traffic accident involving a truck going off the range today has seen massive delays and the diversion of traffic to or from Cairns via the Rex Range or the Gillies Range.
At the very least the Main Roads Department should install permanent road condition signs at Smithfield and Port Douglas which indicate if the road is open and warn of traffic delays on the Kuranda and Rex Ranges.
Travelling via the Rex Range to or from Cairns is totally unacceptable for the people of the Mareeba and Tablelands.
Travelling 150km added one way to Cairns is not on any longer. We know your ALP colleagues in Brisbane would be demonised to the point of insanity should such an event happen on Kingsford Smith Drive or the Gateway Bridge approaches.
Hell shall have no fury should an ALP constituent in Brisbane get home from work five minutes later or miss a flight to Sydney to watch the football.
All the range road surfaces are smeared in diesel making it a treacherous route in any weather for any driver, in a truck, bus or car. After rain and without fail an impatient or inexperienced driver will end up over the side of the range.
Recently I saw a large bitumen cleaning machine operating along the
flat, straight stretches of highway north of Mareeba. It was out of town machinery and traffic control wasting large amounts of money when it should have been working on all the range roads making them less slippery.
Mr Pitt it cannot continue. I am also calling on the Cairns Regional Council, Advance Cairns and any other representative group to back my call to immediately begin surveying preferably a widened range roadway, straightening corners, a section at a time.
This option obviously is the cheapest method of fixing the problem. It is better to have minor traffic holdups with this construction option than to have people face regular dilemmas such as going over the edge like today.
And please don’t tell us the Cairns ‘green necks’ won’t allow you to touch the range because of some black wattle
regrowth. You tell them the ‘red necks’ at the top of the hill won’t pander any longer to their anti-human activities.
After the Adani debacle you have no sensible environmental argument.
Another short-term option is to repair Quaid’s Road which would allow an inexpensive, quick fix for long-suffering motorists who have just been slugged another substantial increase in motor registration fees that your government and the LNP kept to appease Brisbane and Gold Coast motorists.
Or we could do the bypass properly by recognising the elephant in the room; build a tunnel.
The obscene amount of money you borrowed to build a tunnel under the Brisbane River is a smack in the face for Far Northern motorists, business and tourism.
We have to put up with smelly
garbage trucks or large fuel trucks making dozens of movements each day up and down the range when Cairns’ rubbish and Tablelands fuel supplies should have been put on rail. Did you know there is a rail link right to Mareeba, the sugar mill and dump at Arriga?
And please no bull from the green brigade about the range rail tunnels.
There Mr Pitt is our solution. I will also forward a copy of this to your colleague the Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey and your federal counterpart, the Hon Darren Chester.
The people on top of the hill will be eagerly awaiting your response well before the looming election. No more pain and misery.
Do the right thing Mr Pitt, become a northern statesman.
GORDON RASMUSSEN, KAP Candidate for Cook