THE long-awaited Calliope Crossroad upgrades have been stamped for completion within the next four years as seen in the Premier's Bruce Highway Upgrade Strategy released yesterday.
The Upgrade Strategy, now open for public consultation, outlines the specific projects and timelines for necessary upgrades over the 1670km stretch of road from Brisbane to Cairns.
The Calliope Crossroad upgrades have been a talking point around the Gladstone region for many years and the necessary improvements are pivotal to the future of Gladstone resident's safety.
Local state member Liz Cunningham said though four years were longer then she would like to see for the completion of the project, she understood the complexity of what was required.
“Four years is a considerable amount of time, but it is realistic to the amount of work that actually has to be done,” she said.
Mrs Cunningham said the project should take priority as the primary reason for the upgrades is to ensure safety on our local roads.
“The Calliope Crossroads intersection is always congested – day or night and with greater population numbers and people coming into town it is an issue which has come to a head and is essential to be done now.”
Local member for Flynn, Ken O'Dowd was not impressed with the timeline and said four years was too long to wait for such a vital upgrade.
“Four years is a long way away especially with so much development going on. If it can be done in four years why not in one to two years,” Mr O'Dowd said.
“It is a dangerous situation and I receive more complaints about the intersection than anything else. With work camps and the gas construction set to be completed by then this is not acceptable and we need it now.”
Construction is set to start in 2013 with completion aimed at 2015.
Gladstone Regional Council Mayor Gail Sellers said the council was disappointed the project approved four years ago by the Federal Government hasn't begun construction.
“Given the Australian Government's approval of two (and soon possibly three) major LNG plants in Gladstone's State Development Area, coupled with major Port upgrades under way and the further expansion of mining within the Surat Basin, the need for an upgraded, safer intersection is now overdue,” Cr Sellers said.
A spokesman for Craig Wallace's office said $150 million has been fully committed by the Federal Government.