News, Opinion

Operators claim speed camera foundations triggered Kuranda washout

Speed cameras in Queensland have come under scrutiny again, but on this occasion it has nothing to do with fines and loss of demerit points.

The placement  of such cameras along the Kennedy Highway section of the winding Kuranda Range in flood-hit Far North Queensland has been blamed by some truckies for a washout and closure during the recent deluge.

Several drivers have contacted Spy claiming that holes dug under the 15km range for camera foundations, which run between Cairns and Kuranda, were responsible for a washout during the torrential rain of the past few days.

“There is no doubt that the landslide was where the authorities dug the holes and it resulted in the closure of a vital transport link,” a small fleet owner told Spy.

Hundreds of trucks every day travel along the Kuranda Range to get to the Atherton Tablelands including Mareeba which is a genuine transport hub with numerous truck company depots.

According to earlier reports, the Department of Transport and Main Roads has invested $30 million on an Intelligent Transport System upgrade on Kuranda Range and testing was underway.

Artist’s impression of the new technology on the range. Photo: TMR

First announced in January 2022 under the Cairns to Northern Tablelands Access Strategy, the series of hi-tech variable speed limit signs can change the usual 60km speed limit on wet and foggy days to minimise the risk of crashes, which potentially hold up traffic for hours while emergency services and tow trucks clear the roadway.

The newly implemented technology was billed as a first for Far North Queensland, integrating traffic monitoring cameras, traffic monitoring loops and weather stations that will provide real-time road conditions to the Cairns Traffic Management Centre.

The Intelligent Transport System technology was expected to be fully operational in early 2024, pending the results of the testing phase.

Big Rigs has approached TMR for comment.

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