Bligh backs Baralaba bridge

RESIDENTS, two councils, a police officer and the Queensland Premier support the need to raise the Baralaba bridge, but senior public servants do not.

Banana Shire mayor John Hooper informed the council at last week’s monthly council meeting he had spoken with Premier Anna Bligh twice about the bridge after the floods earlier this year, and she was supportive of the proposal.

He said he had taken photographs to Brisbane to show Ms Bligh after the flooding.

“In actual fact, when I went to Roma, she actually brought it up,” Cr Hooper said.

He said he has also spoken with senior public servants in the Main Roads department, who advised him the bridge “was not important enough”.

However, even local police had raised concerns.

Cr Hooper said he spoke with the Baralaba police recently, who were concerned about the increase of heavy vehicle traffic going through the town rather than the bypass and over the bridge.

Deputy mayor Maureen Clancy said she spoke with Baralaba residents after the drowning tragedy earlier this month, along with Central Highlands mayor Peter Maguire, who were all supportive and willing to help council lobby for the bridge to be raised.

Police found the body of a 44-year-old Cairns man in the Dawson River on September 9 after he had gone missing as he attempted to swim across the river with a friend.

Baralaba residents, workers and schoolchildren are ferried across the Dawson River if the water levels rise above the bridge.

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