LONG TIME COMING: Eight Mile overpass works to start
AFTER years of controversy and heated debate, Warwick will soon see construction begin on the newly funded Eight Mile overpass.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey announced construction would begin next month with an estimated completion of February 2022.
The $25 million project will construct a 66m-long overpass leading from Toowoomba to Warwick.
According to Mr Bailey, the project would also include a new roadway to allow for approaches to the overpass, a new Toowoomba to Ipswich exit/merge lane, two culverts and lighting.
"We know better roads get families home safely, transport our world-class exports to markets across Australia and the globe, and stimulate jobs," he said.
"It's why the Palaszczuk and Australian governments last week also announced another 87 road safety projects worth close to $300 million that'll get started within the next six months.
"The Southern Downs region pumps $2 billion into Queensland's economy every year, and improving safety and capacity on the Eight Mile intersection will help to drive the region's economy forward."
The project will also support 50 jobs while in building stage.
For road safety advocates the news was a long time coming.
Southern Downs councillor and Warwick and District Road Safety Committee member Andrew Gale said he remembered overpass discussions beginning with former mayor Ron Bellingham three mayors ago.
"I never thought I'd be as excited to see a bridge as I am about this one," he said.
"It's a very good common sense solution for a problem that's been around for a long time.
"Those accidents we have there shouldn't happen and it comes purely down human error, laziness (or) distraction.
"But when that happens, we have to rely on engineers to come up with a solution."
Cr Gale said it was a testament to people power to see the construction date finally arrive.
"There's been some God awful tragedies out there, heartbreaking stuff has occurred that's affected everyone as a community," he said.
"It's something to see the government and different levels of advocacy come together and manage to get some improvements.
"We've had temporary fixes but I can guarantee there's plenty of people who put their heart and soul into this who will sleep better now because of this."
Works will be carried out from 6am - 6pm Monday to Friday, with some expected lane closures across the New England Highway.