Renee Pilcher

Regional upgrade most important: RACQ

REGIONAL stretches of the Bruce Highway remain the nation's most dangerous, despite $133 million funding being announced for upgrades, an RACQ expert said on Friday.

Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese on Friday announced the funding, coming from both the commonwealth and state governments, to upgrade a section of the highway in Townsville.

But RACQ senior traffic and safety engineer Greg Miszkowycz said while the inner city upgrades were important, stretches of the highway between Mackay and Gympie remained the most dangerous areas for road users.

Mr Miszkowycz said while much more funding had been allocated and spent in the past four years, the Bruce Highway provided three of the five highest risk stretches of road in the nation.

In the latest RACQ Australian Road Assessment Program, three sections of the Bruce Highway were named as Queensland's highest risk highway stretches.

Mr Miszkowycz said those stretches were: Sarina to Mackay, Childers to Miriam Vale and Innisfail to Cairns.

He said the RACQ was still of the view that reducing the crash rates in all rural and regional stretches of the highway remained the highest priority.

"Outside of the major cities, the crash risk along most of its length is still medium-high or high, and that risk won't come down until there have been some major changes to the highway," he said.

Mr Miszkowycz said simple measures could be taken - such as raised median strips and guard rails - to reduce the risk of head-on collisions and drivers running off the road into trees.

"We have the same common problems and they're pretty widespread up and down the highway," he said.

"The problem is that drivers are always going to make some mistakes, but the idea is to prevent that minor mistake being penalised with death."

Mr Albanese said during the last parliamentary sitting week that the Federal Government had allocated some $2.8 billion to the road over seven years, under the National Building Program and the Regional Infrastructure Fund.



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