56 die in six years on Bruce Hway

IT’S 444km long, eight metres wide and kills regularly.

The Bruce Highway between Mackay and Gladstone is a highly dangerous, hopelessly under-funded strip of bitumen, stained with the blood of far too many accident victims.

In the past six years 56 people have died on the Bruce Highway in Central Queensland – eight this year alone, the latest victim just this week in a shocking head-on collision 60km south of Rockhampton.

A special investigation by The Morning Bulletin, The Mackay Mercury, The Observer and the RACQ has revealed frightening detail on just how much work needs to be done to improve the safety of this highway.

One of our journalists and a RACQ safety expert came across a serious crash near Rockhampton while investigating highway danger issues between Gladstone and Mackay.

Authorities say driver error is to blame in most of the Bruce Highway accidents, but I’m sick of hearing that argument and the sound of sirens racing out of Rockhampton after a 000 call from a distressed passer-by coming across some carnage.

Industry sources say it would cost about $500 million extra over five years to bring the highway up to a level that the RACQ says is acceptable by modern standards. It stands to reason many lives would be saved each year on the Central Queensland transport region from Miriam Vale to the Whitsundays.

While it’s tragic that driver error kills, it is even more heartbreaking that innocent people die as a result of another’s mistake.

This investigation is not an attack on the Main Roads Department.

It is aimed squarely at those that provide funding.

The Federal Government needs to back up its promise to support regional Australia.

When you consider that the $500 million safety upgrade program would take five years to complete, in a best-case scenario, there is no time like now to get started.

Every day we wait for the Federal Government to take action is another day waiting for a fatal accident to happen.

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