The controversial North-South Transport Corridor in Toowoomba has been scrapped long before the first sod could be turned.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) says it’s listened to the 4000 responses and submissions through the community consultation phase and is going back to the drawing board.
In a statement, TMR said it will now work with Toowoomba Regional Council to further investigate some of the alternate solutions that were suggested by the community.
The only section that will proceed to corridor protection is the small Charlton Bypass in the industrial area which proved to be uncontroversial after some refinements to reflect land use changes and community feedback in the area, said TMR.
“We are a government that listens to our community and we are extremely grateful to everyone that has provided us with feedback, detailed submissions or even just shared their story with us,” said Transport Minister Mark Bailey.
“On critical, large projects such as the North South Transport Corridor, it’s important that the community has a say – that’s why we do community consultation – so that we can change and pivot to reflect the needs of the community.”
The proposal, first unveiled in July, was for a 54km corridor to be set aside for a potential future road, though no funds were ever committed for the road’s construction.
The highway would have allowed drivers heading north or south on the New England Highway to bypass Toowoomba and would have connected fast-growing areas like Highfields in the north to Westbrook in the south.
It would have directly affected 81 homes and 293 parcels of land and indirectly affected about 700 residents.
The Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) CEO Gary Mahon said the proposed north-south corridor wasn’t one that the industry particularly sought and the community had got it right.
Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters, who campaigned against the proposal, welcomed the government’s backdown, and said she hoped any future community consultation on transport solutions for the area would be done “properly”.
Forecasts show Toowoomba is expected to grow by 76,000 to 200,000 people by 2046 with significant new community development projects, including new housing, approved for development.