Funding blowout may affect work on notorious section of highway
A FUNDING blowout may stall the upgrade for the notorious Northern Beaches section of the Bruce Highway.
The Mt Low Parkway section has been the subject of several fiery debates after a series of potentially deadly accidents.
In September the community outcry had seemingly paid off when a commitment from both state and federal tiers of government was given to fund an upgrade by 2008or early 2009.
But in what Herbert MP Peter Lindsay has described as a ‘shock report’ from the State’s Main Roads department, funding to widen the road to four lanes and other improvements to the area has blown out by a massive $15 million.
Mr Lindsay said he had been told by Main Roads the estimated cost to upgrade the area would be $30 million.
‘‘But now, just weeks later, the cost has increased by around $15 million.’’
Mr Lindsay said he would fight ‘ tooth and nail’ to secure the extra funds.
‘‘If I can get the green light from Canberra for the extra funding, Main Roads will proceed to detail a design, a process that will normally take to the end of June 2007,’’ Mr Lindsay said.
A Main Roads spokesman said yesterday no final figure had been determined for the project to go ahead.
Mr Lindsay said Main Roads had given a commitment to have the final costings for the project ready by Christmas.
‘‘The longer the Government waits for the costings the longer the project will take to get started,’’ Mr Lindsay said.
A Main Roads spokesman said a price would be finalised by the end of January 2007.
‘‘There is, as yet, no firm cost estimate for the project,’’ the spokesman said.
‘‘It is still being developed and will be finalised by the end of January 2007.
‘‘Main Roads met with federal Department of Transport and Regional Services officers in midDecember 2006, to have preliminary discussions about planning progress on a range of projects that are currently under consideration.
‘‘... DoTaRS has asked for a formal submission with a firm cost estimate by end January 2007.
‘‘The submission will be in time for consideration for the federal budget funding cycle.’’
But Thuringowa Division 1 c o u n c i l l o r S a n d r a Chesney said residents had been assured by State Lib- eral and Labor politicians the money would be available.
She said the promises were made to the community during a fiery community rally in September this year.
‘‘At the public meeting they assured the com- munity that the money was there and at that point in time they didn’t know the full costings but they assured the community the money would be there,’’ Ms Chesney said.
‘‘So I don’t give a damn where they get the money from, whether it’s state or federal, they just have to get it, end of story.
‘‘I don’t think the community will settle for less.’’
She said the planned upgrades needed to start immediately in order to avert tragedy.
‘‘This is just a stall tactic and it is a load of rubbish,’’ she said. ‘‘ We are not waiting for this.
‘‘Frankly we have had enough.
‘‘This game of going tit for tat and who is going to pay for what just can’t keep going because people’s lives are at risk.
‘‘The whole three tiers of government have been really slack because they have not recognised the dangerous conditions of this road.’’
The final upgrades to the area are set to include an overpass north-bound on the Bruce Highway which crosses over the inbound lane of the highway and feeds into Mt Low Parkway.
Four sets of traffic lights costing $500,000 will be installed to fix the dangerous stretch of highway at the Mount Low Parkway turnoff before school starts next January.
There are plans to build a ring road to feed traffic off the highway at Shaw Rd and Veales Rd.
TOP M P Lindsay . . . Herbert
P e t e r
LEFT . . . Laurie, Tonita and Jade G a l e a v i e w plans
RIGHT . . . Cr Sandra Chesney with petitions on the road