Cattle die on horror stretch
IT WAS a sight to make a grown cattleman cry - more than two dozen steers shot by the side of the road on their way across the border down the road many believe is the worst in Australia.
The Mt Lindesay Rd between Woodenbong and Legume claimed its latest victims early last week when a Toowoomba-based cattle truck operated by Rodney's Transport rolled en route to the Northern Rivers Meats abattoir at Casino.
With badly-injured, suffering beasts everywhere, those who arrived on the scene to help had little choice but to produce rifles and put the animals out of their misery as quickly as possible.
Fortunately the driver involved escaped serious injury, but the owner of the cattle is still counting the cost - and Mt Lindesay Rd users and residents are still asking if it will take the cost of a human life to spur political action.
Locals remain hopeful a Coalition government in office in Canberra after the September 7 election may be their best hope to fix the road, which barely resembles a goat track in many places and still follows the hillside contours first used when it was a logging track in the 1930s.
Maranoa MP Bruce Scott and Queensland Liberal Senator Brett Mason drove along the road on Monday, at the invitation and urging of Warwick Chamber of Commerce president David Littleproud, who is lending weight to the campaign to have the route brought up to standard.
The political pair - with Senator Mason based in Brisbane - confessed to being strangers to the road, but agreed it was far worse than they had been led to believe.
Daily News editor Jeremy Sollars travelled with them in Senator Mason's Ford Falcon sedan through the section known as the Legume Curves on Monday afternoon and said the visitors were "horrified" at the road's condition.
"They could not believe the road is used on a daily basis by heavy vehicles such as livestock trucks carrying pigs and cattle to meatworks in northern New South Wales," Mr Sollars said.
"Senator Mason's knuckles were white and Mr Scott was hanging on for dear life in the back seat.
"It was a useful exercise in taking them out there - there is nothing like a first-hand experience to really put things in perspective for our political representatives.
"They were both also struck by how scenic the road is and the potential for it to be a tourism drawcard."
Mr Scott later vowed to call on his Coalition colleagues to identify, as a priority if elected, roads across the nation which were seen as "strategic trade links" crossing state and council boundaries, saying the Mt Lindesay would be among them.
The visit to the road by Mr Scott and Senator Mason comes as Tenterfield Shire Council, through whose area most of the road passes, considers an engineering report on the Koreelah Creek Bridge, seen as one of the road's weakest links.
Concerns have been raised about the ability of the bridge to withstand heavy vehicles long-term without an upgrade, but the council is yet to make a decision on any potential change to the existing load limit on the bridge.
Options for the 37km stretch of the Mt Lindesay between Legume and Woodenbong include full widening and new pavement at an estimated cost of $17m, or a full re-alignment to 25 metre
B-double standard costed conservatively at $120m.
Tourism alone is estimated to be worth $130m to the region over 30 years if the road is re-aligned.
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