Canberra has had a change of heart on a notorious stretch of the Bruce Highway just south of Maryborough.
An extra $183m has been found to build a four-lane bypass around the town of Tiaro, instead of the original two that were planned, after relentless campaigning by Wide Bay MP Llew O’Brien.
O’Brien, a former police officer, said funding commitment for a four-lane bypass was a major win for road safety, a significant economic boost for the Fraser Coast, and a victory “for common sense”.
“The bypass will dramatically improve road safety with a four-lane divided road that will prevent head on collisions. It will give traffic space to move around in the event of a breakdown, and improve flood immunity to keep traffic moving when the Mary River floods,” O’Brien said.
“The bypass will also improve Tiaro’s amenity by removing trucks from the town that just pass through, increasing safety and liveability in the community.
“With construction of the Gympie bypass well underway the next logical step is to extend the four lanes from Curra to Maryborough and it makes sense that starts with the Tiaro bypass which runs through a greenfield corridor.”
O’Brien’s party leader, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, had previously supported an agreement with the state government for two lanes with a centre barrier.
But this morning, he joined O’Brien and other local dignitaries in Tairo, to make the official four-lane pledge.
“The proposed bypass will remove a large portion of heavy vehicles from the Tiaro township, improving safety and liveability for residents whilst future-proofing the highway for the years ahead,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“Field investigations have been underway within the bypass corridor study area since March 2020, helping identify the best alignment for this new highway.
The project’s Business Case is expected to be completed by late 2021 and will inform the delivery schedule of the new bypass.