PARKING at the bottle shop and fitness centre has become the norm at Harvey Rd to avoid the chaos that is school drop-offs.
For the next three months, dozers, witches hats and temporary pathways will greet the parents and students bound for Clinton State School or C&K Clinton Community Childcare Centre.
The hi-vis workers and machinery are there for the Gladstone Regional Council-funded $1.5-million road overhaul in the latest attempt to solve the traffic dramas during peak times.
Amanda Schubert had a glimpse of the traffic to expect during her daughter Indy's first year at Prep when they dropped off her books on Friday.
"Today we parked all the way near the fitness centre, across the road from the roundabout," she said.
"I think we'll keep parking there to stay away from the traffic."
It was the first school drop-off for Amber Henderson too as her daughter Lailah Mozley, 4, starts Prep this year.
She said Friday's book drop-off was "just shocking" and it took her about an hour to get to the school and back to their Kirkwood home.
Heavy traffic along Harvey Rd was realised in 2014, when the council allocated $60,000 to study ways to alleviate it.
A study conducted over 2011 and 2012 found that traffic peaked at 269 vehicles per hour in 2011.
Peak traffic more than doubled to 571 vehicles in 2012, following the opening of Harvey Road Tavern, Dan Murphy's and Hillclose estate.
Gladstone mum Krissa Croaker walks her daughter Shakya Spicer, 9, to school to avoid the stress of driving.
She said it was "about time" something was done about the road.
The road upgrade extends from the Dawson Hwy to the school and includes reconfiguration of entry and exit traffic movements at the Harvey Road Tavern and Bunnings. Traffic lights will be installed at the two pedestrian crossings.
Ahead of Chelsea Smith's son Blake's first day at Prep, the Gladstone mum knew she would not be parking close to the school. Yesterday she parked at Dan Murphy's.
While she said the roadworks were a "bit annoying", she hoped it would be worth it.
Gladstone mum of two Tina Barton parks at Bunnings instead of the Marley Brown carpark.
'Short-term pain for long-term gain'
The short term pain of busier and slower school drop-offs will eventually make Harvey Rd safer for school children.
That is the message from the Gladstone Regional Council and Clinton State School.
The upgrades to Harvey Rd are expected to finish in April after they were delayed by wet weather.
Gladstone Region Mayor Matt Burnett said contractors worked during the Christmas holidays.
"It's not just about the first day, it's about a long-term solution for kids crossing in front of Clinton State School," Cr Burnett said.
"If it makes it a bit tricky for even the first six weeks but fixes it in the long-term, that's unfortunate but it might be how it has to be."
Clinton State School principal Leanne Ibell has posted regular road safety reminders to the school's Facebook page for parents and commuters since the roadworks started late last year.
"Parents just need to be patient and take your time," she said. "It may be a bit inconvenient, but in the long term it's going to be worth it.
"At the end of this it will be safer for our children."
Ms Ibell, the school's principal for the past six months, said the council was very helpful and had given them regular updates about how the work was progressing.
She said some parents parked further away and walked with their children to the school.
"Once you've off-loaded all the books at the start of the year, the walk is quite nice in the morning," she said.