Visit sparks road funding hope
By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au
THE federal government support needed to complete the long awaited Kirkwood Road scheme could be on its way following government staff's recent visit to view the project.
Most of the project will be funded by the Gladstone City Council and developer allocations, however the final section of road will require funding from the federal government.
Gladstone mayor Peter Corones said government representatives visited Gladstone after receiving an application for Auslink funding to complete the road.
Cr Corones said a push from the council and Member for Hinkler Paul Neville, meant he was confident they would get the funding needed.
'The work Paul has done means it would be high on the list of priorities for them (the federal government),' he said.
Cr Corones said he expected a visit from transport minister Warren Truss 'in the very near future' to view the Kirkwood Road project first hand and make a decision regarding funding.
Cr Corones said despite so much activity on the local road network, Kirkwood Road continued to be the priority.
'The most urgent road in Gladstone is Kirkwood Road,' he said.
'As far as council is concerned Kirkwood Road needs to be done ASAP.'
Cr Corones said the government funding was vital to the completion of Kirkwood Road.
'The people of Gladstone can't cop the full cost on their own,' he said.
Mr Neville yesterday said while he and Cr Corones were on the same page, there were those within the federal government who did not share their point of view.
'There will be one entry into Gladstone that will be Auslink funded,'' Mr Neville said.
'I think it should be Benaraby Road.
'But there is a belief in the government that it should be the Dawson Highway, so there is some opposition.'
An Auslink road is designated as being an important route for accessing federal infrastructure such as ports.
Mr Neville said Benaraby Road should be chosen for the funding because it would be the route taken by most traffic accessing the port.
'People will always take the shorter route and Benaraby Road is the shortest route down to the port so I believe it is the road that should get the funding,' Mr Neville said.
Cr Corones said the Kirkwood Road path would remove between 1000 and 2000 trucks out of the city centre each day.
'We have a study that says there are about 1000 to 2000 trucks using the Kin Kora roundabout every day,' Cr Corones said.
'This road would mean people coming in to town could bypass that area, taking a lot of pressure off the Dawson Highway, Glenlyon Road and Hanson Road.'