LNP’s highway dou­ble-up

Ip­swich MP skep­ti­cal on ‘stock­take’

The Queensland Times - - NEWS - JESSICA MARSZALEK, SARAH VOGLER — Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by An­drew Korner

IP­SWICH MP Jen­nifer Howard has dis­missed the state op­po­si­tion’s plan for con­ges­tion-bust­ing roads for south-east Queens­land as lack­ing sub­stance.

Op­po­si­tion leader Tim Ni­cholls this week out­lined his in­ten­tion to in­ves­ti­gate a multi-bil­lion dol­lar net­work of du­pli­cate high­ways as part of a “mo­tor­way stock­take”.

The Ip­swich Mo­tor­way, Cen­te­nary Hwy, and M1 were all in­cluded in the plan.

The an­nounce­ment – which could change the face of the south­east – ce­ments in­fra­struc­ture as a key elec­tion bat­tle­ground and gives the Op­po­si­tion a sig­nif­i­cant point of dif­fer­ence com­pared with La­bor’s pub­lic trans­port and Cross River Rail fo­cus.

But Ms Howard said the LNP was yet to present a proper plan and pointed out that noth­ing had been funded.

The LNP has not com­mit­ted any money to build­ing new routes but says, if elected, it would re­view all avail­able and po­ten­tial cor­ri­dors for new ur­ban ar­te­rial roads to cater to fu­ture pop­u­la­tion growth in a car­rot to driv­ers sick of crawl­ing through traf­fic.

Ms Howard said the State Gov­ern­ment was al­ready pro­gress­ing with the $400 mil­lion Rock­lea-Darra stretch of the Ip­swich Mo­tor­way.

The State Gov­ern­ment is split­ting the cost of the project with the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment.

“For the sec­ond year in a row we’ve com­mit­ted a record $20 bil­lion through the Queens­land Trans­port Road In­fra­struc­ture Plan, which the LNP voted for mind you,” Ms Howard said.

“The way I see it is pub­lic trans­port is crit­i­cal. The Cross River Rail is a ma­jor in­vest­ment that will ben­e­fit so many peo­ple.”

Mr Ni­cholls this week crit­i­cised the State Gov­ern­ment for it lack of a plan to com­bat con­ges­tion of ma­jor roads.

He said ma­jor roads could not be widened in­def­i­nitely and it was crit­i­cal to plan for the fu­ture.

“This is why we are fight­ing for a sec­ond M1,” he said.

“It’s why we need to look for al­ter­na­tives to the Bruce and in the western cor­ri­dor and find a way to con­nect a sec­ond M1 to Bris­bane with­out go­ing through con­ser­va­tion ar­eas.”

Al­ter­na­tives in­clude a route from Bris­bane to Stapyl­ton track­ing west of the M1, a Western Or­bital Mo­tor­way, an alternative Bruce Highway be­tween North Lakes to the Gate­way and a Beaudesert to Nerang link.

It came as LNP deputy leader Deb Freck­ling­ton launched an­other pe­ti­tion to du­pli­cate the Beer­bur­rum to Nam­bour rail line on the Sun­shine Coast, funded through a $10 bil­lion Com­mon­wealth rail-build­ing fund.

Mean­while, the Premier re­fused to say whether she sup­ported the LNP’s sug­ges­tion to build a sec­ond M1 on the Gold Coast.

Ms Palaszczuk also re­fused to an­swer whether her Gov­ern­ment was plan­ning on build­ing the road after it fin­ished gazetting a 37km trans­port cor­ri­dor be­tween Stapyl­ton and Nerang in May.

“My Gov­ern­ment is build­ing the ex­ten­sion to the light rail,” she said.

“I’m quite sure that once that sec­ond stage of the light rail is com­plete we will start see­ing a lot of peo­ple move off the roads and on to pub­lic trans­port.

“I would like to see more of our cars off the road and pro­pel util­is­ing pub­lic trans­port.”

She pointed to Trans­port and Main Roads cost­ings that es­ti­mated a road­works bill of $2.4 bil­lion – al­most five times the $500 mil­lion Mr Ni­cholls said it would cost. But those cost­ings are for a six-lane road when the cor­ri­dor can only fit four lanes.


DOU­BLE TAKE: The LNP says it will in­ves­ti­gate du­pli­cate highway op­tions as part of a plan to re­duce con­ges­tion.

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