New rest area opens on the Peak Downs Highway

As part of current safety upgrades to the notoriously dangerous Peak Downs Highway, a new rest area – and lookout – has just opened up.

Linking the towns of Mackay and Clermont, the Peak Downs Highway is the principal truck route that supplies the coal mines of the northern Bowen Basin. A mammoth amount of freight travels this route, including oversize and over-mass vehicles carrying large mining equipment, and livestock vehicles servicing the agricultural sector.

Despite being such a vital regional road, from a safety standpoint, the state of the Peak Downs Highway is so woeful that it’s commonly been labelled the ‘highway to hell’, with parts of it likened to roads in developing countries. Sadly, reports of crashes on this highway are far too frequent, with many proving fatal.

There are hopes that the new rest area, which looks out to the Pioneer Valley, will provide drivers with a safe place to stop along the journey – but given the current state of the highway itself, it’s unlikely this will be anywhere near enough.

Many have already taken to Facebook to express their views.

“Sorry, but I can’t imagine a person coming home from the mines is going to pull up and go to the lookout for a look at the scenery. Anyway, if someone did once, I doubt if they are going to stop every time on their way home,” wrote George Camilleri.

“Just fix the highway. Instead of wasting money on lookouts,” commented Bruce Shenfield.

The new rest area is part of a series of $189 million upgrades to the Peak Downs Highway and includes parking areas, paths, sheltered tables, toilets and even a viewing platform.

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