Springborg criticises audit
MEMBER for Southern Downs Lawrence Springborg yesterday criticised the State Government for failing to provide details of the methodology behind safety audits it has conducted on the Eight Mile intersection north of Warwick
In response to a question on notice lodged by Mr Springborg in early April, Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace provided details of recommendations made by Main Roads engineers for improvements to the notorious Eight Mile, but our local MP said the information, while welcome, did not go far enough.
His question to the Minister was prompted by the death in March of popular Assumption College teacher Jane Ezzy, who was travelling to work from her home in Toowoomba when her Mazda sedan was struck by a Brisbane-bound B-double.
Main Roads has since declared the Eight Mile to be safe – despite local calls for a flyover – and has no plans to reduce speed through the intersection from 80kmh down to 60kmh, as many locals have also called for.
The documents released yesterday by Minister Wallace detail as many as 36 individual safety recommendations, the majority of which are small-scale “signs and lines” treatments, completed in a $4.25 million upgrade completed in early 2009.
Mr Springborg said the “underlying question” the community had was what standards Main Roads had applied, such as national highway design guidelines, in its safety audits to reach the conclusion nothing further needed to be done.
“There really is nothing in the material the minister has released to indicate the methodology or the criteria used to assess the Eight Mile,” Nr Springborg said.
“Did they for example apply the national road design principles which are in place, or is it simply justification to fit the amount of money they have allocated, in lieu of a flyover solution?
“I am grateful the minister has released details of the recommendations, but there is nothing there that gives the community confidence that agreed national standards have been used to determine that the Eight Mile intersection is safe.”
The documents tabled in State Parliament show departmental engineers concluded in a review of the 2009 upgrade, conducted later that year, that the “existing two-way stop sign arrangement” at the Eight Mile was considered “satisfactory”, along with existing speed limits.
A spokesman for Mr Wallace, who has been overseas this week, said the Minister and the department offered their “deepest sympathies to anyone affected by crashes on any of our roads”.
“In 2009 we extended the 80kmh speed zones approaching the intersection to improve safety,” he said.
“A speed audit after this change was introduced showed most people travelling on the Cunningham Highway at the intersection were obeying the speed limit.”
A Queensland Police spokeswoman said yesterday the investigation into the fatal collision involving Ms Ezzy was continuing, with a report to the State Coroner understood to still be under compilation.
To see the Minister’s answer and the Eight Mile safety audit documents go to http://parlinfo. parliament.qld. gov.au, click on “Questions on Notice” and enter the search term “Eight Mile”.