CCIQ calls for Second Range Crossing and Bruce Highway upgrades in federal budget submission
As the State’s peak business organisation, CCIQ (Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland) has provided a detailed submission to the 2013-14 Federal Budget focusing exclusively on the case for Commonwealth funding of a Toowoomba Second Range Crossing and the urgent upgrade of the Bruce Highway.
The Toowoomba Range Crossing and Bruce Highway are an integral part of Queensland's road network and have a significant impact on national productivity and the competitiveness of businesses.
TOOWOOMBA SECOND RANGE CROSSING (TSRC)
CCIQ has liaised closely with the State Government in the preparation of our Federal Budget submission in relation to the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing.
Unfortunately the existing range crossing has reached its capacity and is in desperate need of an alternative.
The existing range crossing’s steep grade and tight curves results in high levels of congestion, traffic delays and a very poor safety record. Coupled with the section through urban Toowoomba with 16 sets of traffics lights, the existing route falls well short of specified national highway levels of service.
At present, there is limited scope for further cost-effective improvements to the existing range, due to the fact that the current issues will persist regardless. Therefore a second range crossing is the only viable option for the long-term growth of the region.
CCIQ has called for significant Commonwealth funding which will provide Queensland with a safe crossing and a quicker bypass for freight and service transport vehicles and is vital to support the growth of this important region into and beyond 2042.
Anticipated benefits are significant including:
- Accommodating regional growth;
- Reducing travel time;
- Improving travel time reliability;
- Reducing crashes; and
- Improving freight efficiency and productivity
THE BRUCE HIGHWAY UPGRADE
The Bruce Highway plays a key role in building Queensland’s economy. However a general underinvestment over the past decade has delivered a backlog of safety, flood immunity and capacity projects needed to raise the standard of the highway.
CCIQ has a particular interest in the weather and capacity constraints of the Bruce Highway.
Significant flooding is an annual reality along the Bruce Highway. On average, there are nine locations which close annually for greater than 48 hours and six locations which close for greater than five days. In addition, highway flooding causes destruction with reconstruction resulting in further delays to traffic.
A massive program of reconstruction has been undertaken since January 2011 and is still underway but the January 2013 floods once again confirm the vulnerability of this national corridor to flooding.
Traffic volumes on the Bruce Highway are expected to grow by more than 3 per cent per year to 2025, driven by population growth, a booming resource sector and strong agricultural and tourism sectors. This will further exacerbate delays when travelling.
CCIQ has provided support for a generational upgrade of the condition of the Bruce Highway and builds on the Bruce Highway Action Plan prepared by the Queensland State Government.
This Plan would not only reduce the road toll by 35% but deliver estimated time savings to both domestic and industry travel that creates a dividend to the economy of up to $30 billion.
CCIQ has recommended that the Federal Government match the Queensland Government’s commitment to allocate $1 billion over the next 10 years to the cost of upgrading the Bruce Highway over and above existing funding levels under the Nation Building Program.
CCIQ will publicly release our full Federal Budget Submission on 8 February 2013.