Debate sought on port access
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.