The Gladstone Port Access Road was opened to traffic for the first time yesterday.
The Gladstone Port Access Road was opened to traffic for the first time yesterday.

Flick of a switch opens port access road

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

WITH a flick of a switch Member for Hinkler Paul Neville opened the Gladstone Port Access Road yesterday, which came as a sur-prise to the first motorists to encounter new lights at the Glenlyon end of the road.

When Mr Neville turned on the lights, one motorist driving along Glenlyon Road failed to notice the red light which had just appeared in front of them.

They continued through the intersection as they had for years. Once traffic became accustomed to the new lights, things started to flow a little smoother.

In opening the road Mr Neville said it would prove to be a positive addition to Gladstone's road network.

'It will be critical in ensuring the smooth and efficient flow of heavy industrial traffic to the port, which was identified as being central to the Gladstone Integrated Transport Plan,' Mr Neville said.

Despite the controversy that surrounded the road, Mr Neville stood by it yesterday.

'The Port Access Road will be a major addition to Central Queenslands transport infrastructure, its plans for industrial expansion, as well as public safety,' he said.

IT WAS A surprisingly low-key beginning for one of the region's most controversial projects.

Just five residents turned out to the open- ing of the Gladstone Port Access Road yes- terday, a far cry from the hundreds of protest- ers who picketed against the road while it was being proposed.

The 'unofficial' opening was not announced until about 5pm Wednesday afternoon via a departmental release.

One resident who turned out for the open- ing believed the low-key approach was designed to divert attention away from the controversial roadway.

'Someone is obvious- ly trying not to let the cat out of the bag,' said the resident who would not have his name printed.

Another person who did not know about the opening was Calliope Shire Council mayor George Creed.

Cr Creed said Calliope had contributed $1.5 million to the road, while 'Gladstone contributed nothing.'

'That's a bit bloody rough because Calliope put in $1.5 million to that road and Gladstone put in nothing at all,' he said.

However Regional Ex- ecutive Director for Cen- tral Queensland Depart- ment Of Main Roads Mal Hellmuth said the open- ing was not a high profile event because it was not the official opening.

Even though the road is now open to all resi- dents, Mr Hellmuth said an official opening would be staged at the end of the month.

Gladstone mayor Peter Corones, who did attend the opening, said the road was opened, 'because it was finished and there's no point it sitting there and not being used.'

He said there was no warning of yesterday's event, but he expected there to be official public notification before the of- ficial opening at the end of the month.



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