Fight to fix killer road
YET another fatal crash at the notorious Eight Mile intersection this week has left Southern Downs Mayor Peter Blundell vowing to fight for change to prevent the loss of more lives at the cross roads.
Toowoomba man Jaydon Adams, 20, and 26-year-old north Queensland woman Samantha Lee Burgess were killed on Monday when the car they were travelling in collided with a vehicle transporter.
Councillor Blundell said he was frustrated and angry that more lives had been lost.
"When the last upgrade happened in 2009 I had just been elected into the Southern Downs Regional Council as deputy mayor and even then councillors were calling for a better upgrade," he said.
"It is hugely frustrating that nothing has been done yet and it makes me angry that this has happened again."
Cr Blundell said he had invited both Local Member Lawrence Springborg and Federal Member Bruce Scott to make a commitment, in the lead up to the election, to fund an upgrade of the intersection.
"The designs have been done for an overpass and it is hugely frustrating they weren't put into place because of funding issues," he said.
"It is our role as the local government to lobby both the state and federal governments to get the funding and ensure they don't just pass the issue back and forth between themselves."
A Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesman said yesterday that an overpass would cost approximately $50 million.
But Southern Downs Regional Council deputy mayor Ross Bartley said money could not be the determining factor when dealing with people's safety.
"The last upgrade provided some nice new painted lines and a fresh coat of bitumen," he said.
"The road needs to be fixed now; the priority should not be measured in how much it will cost the state and federal governments.
"And there are more than just fatal accidents at this intersection with plenty of people being injured."
There are the incidents, like the one Mr Springborg was involved in, that result in some very close misses.
But Mr Springborg said he was aware the design was flawed before his near miss.
"It is a dangerous design, I have had a close miss there myself," Mr Springborg said.
"It was the scariest experience I have ever had while driving.
"I was driving to Brisbane when a truck heading from Toowoomba to Warwick drove out in front of me without giving way; he was clearly confused by the maze of roads.
"It was just lucky that that I managed to swerve and pull the car back around."
Mr Springborg said the funding for the upgrade would fall under the responsibility of the federal government.
"Fixing this road needs to be made a priority," he said.
Mr Scott said he would be happy to support the community's push for an upgrade.
He said he would be discussing the issue with Cr Blundell during his visit to Warwick next Monday.
But it is not just politicians who have been left angry with many Southern Downs community members joining a new Facebook page campaigning to have the eight mile fixed.
The page titled Fix the Eight Mile was started on Monday, after the accident, and has at the time of print gained a following of 1427 people.
The person responsible for starting the page asked to remain anonymous.
"It is an emotional time for the whole community and it is an issue that has been going on for so long," he said.
"There seems to be some fairly strong advocacy for a change out there and I thought this was a way for people to get their voices heard."
While the man said he had not been involved in an accident personally he had witnessed many close calls.
"I know the intersection and its history behind it," he said.
"I get nervous when I drive through it.
"I don't know what the answer is to the problem but I agree that there needs to be a severe change.
"It is not working the way that it is."