Major truck route upgrade fuels fear about safety, pollution
WORK will soon start on a $790,000 upgrade to Ogilvie Rd, Depot Rd and East St but fears the increased traffic will drive up safety risks, noise and dust are gaining momentum.
The upgrade will allow B-double trucks that travel from the Emu Vale, Swanfels and Upper Freestone areas to cut from Yangan Rd to the Caltex petrol station on the Cunningham Highway via Ogilvie Rd, Depot Rd and East St.
Depot Rd resident Al Cutmore said the nearby intersection was unsafe and would be made more dangerous if B-doubles were allowed access.
He was the driving force behind an upcoming public meeting between residents and the Southern Downs Regional Council.
"My main concern is the validity of the argument about where the B-double route starts and finishes," he said.
"I'm concerned about the pollution I will suffer, as well as other people along the road."
Depot and Ogilvie Rds are unsealed "goat tracks" and Mr Cutmore said allowing B-doubles would kick up dust from the road shoulder, spread brake dust and diesel fumes, and bring noise and light pollution.
Depot Rd meets Freestone Rd at the crest of a hill and Mr Cutmore said it was dangerous at the best of times. He thinks slow moving trucks stopping and starting at the intersection will make it worse.
"I'm not against the council... I'm digging for facts," Mr Cutmore said.
The work is scheduled to start in March and will be paid for with a $395,000 grant from the Federal Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program. The remaining $395,000 is coming from council coffers.
Depot and Ogilvie Rds will get a bitumen seal, the Freestone Rd intersection will be upgraded and other parts of the route will be widened.
Mayor Tracy Dobie said the route was selected after consultation with primary producers and freight companies. She said it would remove the B-doubles that travelled along Yangan Rd and join the Cunningham Highway near the OO Madsen Bridge, and improve safety in front of the School of Total Education and the Little Tackers Childcare Centre.
"The aim is to provide access to the eastern side of Warwick so that primary producers at Emu Vale, Upper Freestone and Swanfels can more effectively move their grain and stock to the Cunningham and New England Highways," Cr Dobie said.
The Mayor stressed the new route would not reduce tourist traffic along Albion St. It only affects prime movers heading to the east of Warwick.
She added it was not connected to the Heavy Vehicle Bypass that the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads was looking to build. A feasibility study into this second bypass is under way but Cr Dobie doubts it will go ahead. The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing is expected to reduce financial benefit of a bypass. The public meeting about the b-double route will be at Warwick Town Hall on January 22 at 5pm.