RE­CENT RANGE DRA­MAS SHOW NEED FOR UR­GENT AC­TION

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS | OPINION -

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.

Yours faith­fully,

GOR­DON RASMUSSEN, KAP Can­di­date for Cook

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