De­bate sought on port ac­cess

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page - By TONY RAGGATT busi­ness ed­i­tor

FED­ERAL MP Peter Lind­say has called for wider de­bate on Townsville’s port ac­cess road, warn­ing it might in­crease rather than re­duce traf­fic in in­nercity sub­urbs.

He also be­lieves fed­eral en­vi­ron­men­tal ap­provals should be ob­tained for work in sen­si­tive ar­eas around Ross River be­fore any work starts on the project’s first stage — a road link­ing Flin­ders High­way and the Bruce High­way at Stu­art.

Mr Lind­say was com­ment­ing af­ter the re­lease this week of an eco­nomic anal­y­sis of the Townsville Port Ac­cess Road pre­pared for the State’s Main Roads De­part­ment.

The de­part­ment is plan­ning for fu­ture port ac­cess at Townsville and is propos­ing the Townsville Port Ac­cess Project, a new road link­ing the Flin­ders High­way and Bruce High­way at Stu­art and the East­ern Ac­cess Cor­ri­dor, a new road and rail link from the Bruce High­way at Stu­art to Townsville Port, in­clud­ing a bridge over the mouth of Ross River.

Ac­cord­ing to the eco­nomic anal­y­sis, the project would be de­signed and con­structed over eight years for a n o m i n a l c o s t o f $190 mil­lion and be open for op­er­a­tion in 2015.

While the cor­ri­dor is seen as a new con­nec­tion to the port and a means to re­duce portre­lated traf­fic in sub­ur­ban s t r e e t s , Mr Lind­say be­lieved there would be pres­sure from Townsville City Coun­cil to con­nect the port ac­cess to South Townsville and the city.

He said a new bridge was be­ing con­sid­ered across Ross Creek at The Strand to cater for the Break­wa­ter Quays and ocean ter­mi­nal project pro­posed for the front of Jupiters casino.

Mr Lind­say said the de­vel­op­ment of the satel­lite city of Rocky Springs near Stu­art would also cre­ate de­mand for more ca­pac­ity on roads in to and out of the city.

‘‘There will be enor­mous pres­sure to have a through con­nec­tion on the port ac­cess road from the city tak­ing traf­fic to Rocky Springs and the Serene Val­ley- Al­li­ga­tor Creek Mr Lind­say said.

‘‘I’m flag­ging to res­i­dents at South Townsville in par­tic­u­lar that if they had an ex­pec­ta­tion the port ac­cess road was go­ing to re­duce traf­fic through their sub­urb, it might quite well be the op­po­site.

‘‘I’m not say­ing this to em­bar­rass the coun­cil in any way.

‘‘I just say we have got to be fair dinkum with the com­mu­nity and work th­ese things through. It’s a de­bate our com­mu­nity has to have.’’

The re­port pre­pared for Main Roads car­ries two op­tions for the port ac­cess, one with all move­ments per­mit­ted be­tween the East­ern Ac­cess Cor­ri­dor and Bound­ary St and the other with re­stricted turns on and off the cor­ri­dor to Bound­ary St.

It says Main Roads’ cur­rent po­si­tion is that un­re­stricted move­ments will not be al­lowed and that it will only give con­sid­er­a­tion to al­low­ing un­re­stricted move­ments if the is­sue is broached by an­other stake­holder.

In each of the two op­tions, Archer St is to be c l o s e d t o t h r o u g h traf­fic.

On en­vi­ron­men­tal ap­provals, Mr Lind­say said it would be wise to ob­tain a fed­eral goa­head on stage two of the cor­ri­dor be­fore start­ing stage one.

He said he did not see any great dif­fi­cul­ties in build­ing the cor­ri­dor but that oth­ers might and it may be the road could not be built.

‘‘I can’t pre-empt any de­ci­sion . . . I’m a lay per­son in con­struc­tion.

‘‘But I do know there are some sen­si­tive ar­eas on the south­ern side of Ross River,’’ he said.


Peter Lind­say

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