Now or never for range road

The Cairns Post - - VIEWS -

IT IS now or never for the Ku­randa high­way.

Gov­ern­ments of ev­ery per­sua­sion have been squeez­ing votes from the Ku­randa Range is­sue for decades on end.

It hap­pens like clock­work — the elec­tion cy­cle ramps up, the vol­ume tem­po­rar­ily in­creases, but lo and be­hold noth­ing ever gets done. This time is dif­fer­ent. Con­ser­va­tive mod­el­ling in for­mer Queens­land Gov­ern­ment stud­ies place the ca­pac­ity of the range at about 9500 daily ve­hi­cle move­ments, give or take.

Cur­rent us­age is push­ing right up there, nip­ping at the heels of cat­a­strophic traf­fic jams the likes of which have never been seen.

Any­body who uses the third-rate road — mums tak­ing their kids down to town, truck­ies lug­ging pineap­ples out to mar­ket — can tell you what a mess it has be­come.

It is dan­ger­ous, prone to land­slides in the wet sea­son, and all it takes is a mi­nor bin­gle for the whole she­bang to be blocked up for hours.

Then you get a sit­u­a­tion like we saw ear­lier this month (and again last month, for good mea­sure) where a truck rolls over.

Politi­cians talk about want­ing to grow the agri­cul­ture in­dus­try, of cre­at­ing new dams and pro­mot­ing tourism, but have re­peat­edly lacked the vi­sion or gump­tion to do what needs to be done.

What should be a no-brainer has be­come po­lit­i­cal with no­body want­ing to upset the ap­ple cart due to en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns.

Fair enough, but there are ways to build a road in an eco­log­i­cally re­spon­si­ble man­ner.

Gov­ern­ments just need to bite the bul­let and spend some money out­side the south­ern cap­i­tals. Chris Calcino chris.calcino@news.com.au

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