The condition of the Koumala Range Road is a tragedy waiting to happen according to Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry.
“After travelling the road over the weekend and meeting with concerned residents, I have written to the Deputy Premier requesting urgent action before the wet season begins,” Ms Landry said.
“Apart from the inconvenience and stress the additional travel time is creating, use of the road is beyond its structural capacity and is putting lives at risk.
“I have written to request an urgent reassessment of works on the Koumala Range, including installation of guard rails on dangerous bends, reducing the speed limit to 80km per hour on unsealed sections, retaining or reviewing the traffic light system on one way bridges and narrow sections and sealing sections of the road where slippage is of concern.
Due to the closure of the Sarina Range following Tropical Cyclone Debbie, Koumala Range and Bolingbroke Roads are being used as the main access for the entire community.
“Heavy vehicles, shift workers, school children and workers commuting after long days are all using the narrow road that contains many dangerous bends, is potholed where sealed, is slippery where not sealed and has alarming bridge crossings,” she said.
“At a community meeting at the Sarina Range on Sunday, residents raised fears that unless urgent works are undertaken before the wet season, lives will be at risk.
“Having driven the route myself this past week, I believe the concerns are genuine and warranted.
“It is an important priority for those who have no option but to use this road.
“Even without rain the road is already quite slippery in areas and the speed at which vehicles are travelling is alarming.”
On Sunday, Sarina Range residents learned from the Queensland Department of Main Roads that the timeframe for reconstruction of the Sarina Range Road is unknown, with some predictions indicating it will be at least 18 months before it can reopen.
“The residents of Sarina Range have met the challenges arising from Cyclone Debbie with resilience, but the ongoing stress and isolation compounds the psychological impact.
“I urge the Palaszczuk Government to prioritise these works and give the people of the Sarina Range Road some hope that lives will return to normal soon.”