It's shocking, say drivers
DRIVING on the Bruce Highway terrifies me.
Maybe it’s because I’m an emergency services reporter and I see more accidents than most, or maybe it’s because the highway is in such disrepair that it’s downright dangerous. Like many people in Gladstone I drive on the highway a lot, whether it’s a quick trip to Rockhampton or a long drive to Brisbane.
Recently I took a drive to Rockhampton with RACQ engineer Greg Miszkowycz and Observer photographer Brenda Strong to inspect the highway.
The thing I have always noticed is the big lumps of bitumen pushed up on the edges of the road that could be deadly if hit at the wrong angle.
Greg told me this is called ‘shoving’ and it’s caused when the pavement fails and all the bitumen pushes to the side. It happens when water gets in through the cracks in the bitumen and pushes the layer underneath out to the side.
I’ve also always wondered why there are trees so close to the side of the road, giving no manoeuvring room if one has to swerve.
During the drive we stopped at several spots to take photographs or talk to truck drivers. At our very first stop we were taking photographs of the ‘shoving’ when we heard a big bang and turned around to see a four-wheel drive towing a caravan run off the road.
The axles and wheels on the caravan had snapped off, causing the van to jackknife and become airborne. Thankfully the driver used his skills to get the car and van to a safe stop off the road.
We couldn’t believe that we had witnessed an accident on our one-hour drive to Rockhampton and wondered if it was the state of the road that caused the axles and wheels to snap off.
All along the way we spoke to truck drivers and travellers and every person we spoke to without fail said the Bruce Highway was in a shocking state.
I’ve been at The Observer for five months now and I have written so many stories about deaths and injuries on the Bruce Highway that I have lost count.
I feel for the police and emergency services officers in towns like Miriam Vale, Mt Larcom and Ambrose who are the first on the scene at these tragic accidents on an almost weekly basis.