On Tuesday 16th July, Leader of the Liberal National Party (LNP) and Shadow Minister for Trade Deb Frecklington MP, visited Beachmere Road and the Old Toorbul Point Road intersection.
Accompanied by State Member for Pumicestone Simone Wilson MP, Ms Frecklington personally observed the condition of Beachmere Road.
Ms Wilson said “I’ve been fighting for the State Government to upgrade Beachmere Road since being elected. This is a major connecting route for locals and it’s notorious for near misses - safety upgrades are needed now. It’s time for this Government to get on with delivering what’s needed and for Beachmere it starts right here on upgrading Beachmere Road.”
Beachmere Road is a major road linking to the highway, but there are long stretches of the road with minimal to no shoulder. The road previously held a 100km speed limit which was lowered to 80km.
After observing the road for herself Ms Frecklington said “We’ve been looking at the condition of Beachmere Road and it’s in a pretty sad state of repair. This road is a priority for Beachmere residents - but sadly the Palaszczuk Labor Government doesn’t see it this way. I’m supporting Simone by calling on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to stump up the funds for this vital upgrade to go ahead.”
Last year a one kilometre stretch of Beachmere Road was resurfaced between Caboolture–Bribie Island Road and Lanaghan Court, Caboolture.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey in a statement on 19th July said “Last year, we upgraded part of Beachmere Road and will next week conduct additional works along the road after completing works last month.”
During their stop at Beachmere Road, near a local fishing spot, Ms Frecklington and Ms Wilson talked to passing locals who agreed the road needed upgrading.
Moving on from Beachmere Road Ms Frecklington then visited Bribie Island Road to observe the Old Toorbul Point Road intersection. She was joined by Federal Member for Longman Terry Young MP and Ms Wilson.
The Federal Government has announced $20 million of funding for Bribie Island Road to be upgraded in the 2019/20 Federal Budget.
In a joint statement Mr Young and Ms Wilson both expressed concern that the State Government’s current inaction meant the upgrades won’t be going through anytime soon.
Mr Young said “Tens of thousands of people use this road every day; we need the State Government to give the green light so that these vital upgrades to the Bribie Island Road can start happening now. There are intersections along Bribie Island Road that require immediate upgrades. At the top of the list is Old Toorbul Point Road, which is one of the region’s most dangerous intersections.
I’ve spoken to many people who tell me that Old Toorbul Point Road intersection is a fatality waiting to happen. There can be no excuse for neglecting this any longer, the money is there and the Morrison Government is committed to fixing this road.”
After seeing the intersection for herself Ms Frecklington said “It’s safe to say Bribie Island Road is one of the most neglected State Controlled Roads in this region - with tens of thousands of people using it every day. Yet it’s been the Federal Government who’s stump up $20 million for urgent upgrades to this road – not the State. That funding is ready to be used. Annastacia Palaszczuk needs to get the green light happening on these vital upgrades and start putting people above politics.”
The intersection between Old Toorbul Point Road and Bribie Island Road sees heavy traffic especially from parents and school children attending St Michael’s College. It is also the main access point for those attending the Abbey Medieval Festival, which was held over the 13th and 14th of July and saw 30,000 people in attendance.
During major events such as the Festival and concerts being held at Sandstone Point Hotel, Bribie Island Road sees an overwhelming amount of traffic that are sometimes beyond its means to cope with as a single carriageway road. When such events occur traffic signs warning of delays are required, but local small business feel the brunt of this when it deters visitors.
Ms Wilson said “On busy weekends it’s gridlock and even local businesses are being made by TMR to put out electronic signs warning people to expect traffic delays. This is having an enormous impact on small business operators on Bribie Island as they fear people are not visiting the area because of the warnings being issued.”
“Locals like me see this intersection as fatality waiting to happen. The State Labor Government is stalling and we won’t see traffic lights here until the end of next year - that’s inexcusable. These safety upgrades are needed now, there can be no more delays.” Said Ms Wilson.
In a response statement from the office of Mr Bailey there are plans to commence work on a $10.4 million Bribie Island Road and Old Toorbul Point Road intersection upgrade in the first half of 2020.
Mr Bailey said “As the main access to St Michael’s College and the Abbey Medieval Festival, the largest annual medieval event in the southern hemisphere, our government is backing Moreton Bay locals by signalising and upgrading this increasingly busy intersection… We’re getting on with necessary planning and design the LNP failed to do while they were in government so we can deliver this much needed upgrade for the Moreton Bay Region as quickly as possible. The upgrade will improve safety for motorists, freight vehicles and families heading to and from school, adding to the $9.75 million already allocated by the Palaszczuk Government for upgrades on Bribie Island Road.”
The upgrade will involve: new traffic signals, four through-lanes on Bribie Island Road, dedicated left and right-turn lanes for traffic turning in to or out of Old Toorbul Point Road, a signalised pedestrian crossing on Bribie Island Road, two new bus stops and on-road bike lanes.
Mr Bailey said planning was also underway to upgrade other sections of Bribie Island Road in the future.
“This isn’t a case of bickering over State and Federal funding as the Feds have already stumped up $20 million to fix Bribie Island Road and that money is available now. There should be shovels on the road today and there should be local jobs generated from this but with the State Government’s inaction, we won’t be seeing any this year… Hundreds of St Michael's College parents will be left white knuckled navigating this dangerous intersection until the end of 2020 – it’s just not good enough.” Said Ms Wilson.
With the second half of 2019 approaching it seems unlikely even with pressure from the opposition that developments will begin on Bribie Island Road until next year. However, the smaller scale upgrades to Beachmere Road should begin shortly.