What Warrego Highway will look like in next 20 years
AN INTERCHANGE upgrade preventing accidents at a notoriously dangerous Warrego Highway intersection is just the start of safety and upgrade master plan.
The Warrego Highway East master plan includes upgrading the Forest Hill Fernvale Road trouble spot at Glenore Grove.
It's just a fraction of the two-part plan that will be developed across the next 50 years as part of a $400 million Roads of Strategic Importance project.
The Gatton Star spoke with Transport and Main Roads regional director (southern Queensland) Kym Murphy about the project.
"We are doing some planning to what Glenore Grove might look like, and we are looking at what it looks like from an interchange perspective," Ms Murphy said.
So far, the plans include grade separation - where turning paths would be elevated over the top of other traffic - similar to the Plainland overpass.
"It increases safety and reduces conflict point by separating grades," she said.
Twenty-six people have lost their lives in fatalities and 580 have been seriously injured - many of which were at crossover intersections.
There's a concentration of fatalities and serious crashes towards the Haigslea end, Ms Murphy said.
"There isn't a worst section of the highway, there's quite a spread of those crash sections."
The highway plan is split into two sections - the first being the master plan, and the second a corridor preservation.
WIDER, MORE LANES
Included in the master plan is developing the highway into a motorway, with six lanes between Dinmore and Haigslea (three each way) and four lanes from Haigslea to Helidon Spa.
Despite the four lanes west of Haigslea, Ms Murphy said the corridor was under review to widen the road and provide a wider median strip.
It also includes removing illegal entries to the highway.
"The highway has grown over the years. It's one of our most highly utilised rural highways in Queensland," Ms Murphy said.
Although the plan is 50 years in the making, Ms Murphy said there was a focus on what was needed in the next 20 years.
She said upgrades in the interim would include acceleration and deceleration lanes and modified access to the highway.
The $400m is committed to the western end of the Warrego Hwy and will be committed for the next 10 years.
MP GETS BEHIND PROJECT
Former police officer and Lockyer MP Jim McDonald has seen his fair share of accidents on the Warrego.
He welcomed the upgrades and said it was crucial to save lives.
"They're spending hundreds of millions of dollars in Brisbane to get people home 10 minutes earlier," he said.
"This is about saving our people's lives. People put their lives in others' hands every day crossing the highway.
"It's not about getting home 10 minutes early to have a glass of chardonnay, its about saving a life."
Mr McDonald said overpasses were cricual to saving lives.
At present, the department is consulting with landholders who would be affected by highway upgrades.
The proposed corridor will become wider than what motorists already use.
"At the moment, the planning isn't far enough along to say we would put this here and that there," Ms Murphy said.
She said consultation with landholders was vital because of their knowledge.
"Landholders use the road on a daily basis, and they know what the safety issues are," she said.
Anyone wanting to contribute to the Warrego Highway consultation can email email@example.com or call 1800 335 625