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11 Queensland bridges targeted in election priorities

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The Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) has spelled out what it sees as essential insfrastructure targets for whoever wins the federal election next month.

In a detailed blueprint titled Four the Future of Road Freight, the QTA highlights four pillars for investment – infrastructure investment, industry-led skills training, workplace relations reform and business and payroll tax reforms.

In terms of infrastructure spend, the QTA has assessed key links and the following 11 bridge priorities that warrant replacement/upgrades in the next five years are among at least 30 bridges not on the forward program.

While some of these bridges have received a mention in releases, they are not confirmed as sufficient investment to open these corridors for safer high productivity vehicles.

QTA CEO Gary Mahon said the opportunity must be taken to improve road freight efficiencies for the benefit of the economy and international competitiveness.

“The time is now to make investments to increase the connectivity to export markets and ports and supply our communities in all weather,” said Mahon.

“To achieve this, funding must be directed towards the Inland Freight Route and connecting bridges to strengthen the freight network. Unlocking access for high productivity vehicles will have far-reaching benefits across the entire supply chain and drive industry confidence to safely invest for the future.”

Top 11 bridge priorities

1. Rifle Creek Bridge (north of Mareeba)

  • Single lane and load limited
  • Last QTMR study was undertaken out of cane season and the road to the Cape was closed

2. Spear Creek Bridge (north of Mareeba)

  • Two lanes, but not wide enough for two trucks to pass safely
  • Load limited

3. McLeod River Bridge (north of Mareeba)

  • Two lanes but not wide enough for two trucks to pass safely
  • Load limited
  • Prone to flooding – cuts off access to Cooktown/Cape
  • No three-trailer access

Rifle, Spear and McLeod River bridges are the broken fuse in the network and the reason given to not allow three trailers from Mareeba to Lakeland. These investments would open access to Cape York and the Lakeland Agricultural region.

4. Bungi Creek Bridge Roma (W.M. Ewan Bridge)

  • Limited for high productivity combinations

5. Gilbert River Bridge  (between Georgetown and Croydon – Gulf Development Road)

  • Single lane
  • Weight restricted, unable to run Higher Mass Limits (HML).

6. Norman River Bridge (between Croydon and Normanton)

  • Narrow and weight limited (unable to run HML)

7. Georgetown Bridge – Etheridge River Bridge

  • Narrow and weight limited (unable to run HML)

8. Splinter Creek crossings (on the Monto-Mt Perry Road and Monto-Kalpowar Road)

  • Trucks are now required to travel to Biloela and across to Gladstone instead of direct access to the coast
  • This bridge is a timber structure bridge and has been weight limited to exclude trucks

9. Bremer River

“The A-Double combination at 30 metres in length is the optimal combination carrying two 40-foot containers (four TEUs on one vehicle combination). These innovative, safe and efficient vehicle combinations cannot currently be fully utilised on this corridor forcing additional truck movements.

The Bremer River Bridge restrictions on the Warrego Highway are a significant constraint on this corridor and will continue to add to costs and impede freight efficiency holding this potentially productive corridor in the State to ransom for as long as it takes to replace it.

The next Australian Government must acknowledge the vital role this key corridor performs in transporting road freight between and around the southern region as part of the National Land Transport Network and the National Land Freight Network. Accordingly, commit to a further upgrade of assets across the corridor to unlock capacity and allow increased access for the use of HPV combinations. The investment to replace the Bremer River Bridge must be brought forward to unlock this network to meet its productive potential.”

10. Bee Creek Peak Downs Highway

  • Weight limited

Main passageway into Mackay/Bowen Basin and there is no alternative around this bridge. Critical large machinery for mine deliveries that cannot be reduced to smaller articles.

11. Grosvenor Creek and Cherwell Creek (bridge and culvert)

Council advise the bridge is out of warranty, therefore every time heavy loads over the 200t gross want to use it, a new bridge assessment is applied at the client’s/industry’s cost with concomitant delays and inefficiencies.

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