Spicers debate spices up
THE controversial topic of using Spicers Gap as an alternative to Cunningham's Gap has been ignited, following yet another round of disruptions due to flooding.
Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott has called for the idea to be considered again and said the problem needed solving.
"I have always been a believer that we need to look at Spicers Gap as an alternative, or so we at least have a release valve," he said.
"We have to do more at (Cunningham's Gap) because the latest weather event demonstrates this will be an ongoing problem when we get these severe weather events."
Mr Scott said the focus needed to be on not just what is ahead in the next wet season, but in 20 to 30 years time.
He added that while he would leave it to the experts to come up with the most effective solution, he was confident a more permanent one was possible.
"I am not averse to engineers taking another look at what can be done, and we have to wait for the outcome of the engineers' report," he said.
Mr Scott conceded any fixes, whether permanent or temporary, would come at a cost and said this was not a reason for it to be put on the backburner.
"Of course, it is expensive, but the cost of the Gap going out after severe weather events is millions of dollars anyway," he said.
"It is a vital link between Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne."
Much of the past two years has been spent repairing and stabilising the stretch of highway, but Mr Scott said they hadn't been enough.
"Whilst there was $57 million spent at Cunningham's Gap recently - and that has certainly been welcome - it clearly hasn't solved the problem," he said.
Despite, being closed for two days after the Australia Day weekend floods, the highway at Cunninghams Gap is now open to two lanes of traffic under stop/go traffic conditions.
A Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesman said the speed limit through the Gap was 60kmh.
However, motorists were reminded to follow the directional signage on site.
"The initial clean-up after the slips is complete," he said.
"This included removing about 10,000 cubic metres of debris - rocks, vegetation, trees, mud and soil - from the road and the slip face and replacing fences."
The spokesman said the highway was expected to be reopened to three lanes soon.
"Work still to be completed includes removing debris from behind the concrete barriers and installing new concrete barriers at various locations," he said.
"Further geotechnical investigations will also be undertaken to ensure the stability of the slip face."
Stop/ go conditions will apply while this work is being completed.
The latest traffic information is available at 131940.qld.gov.au