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Blacksoil legend remembered at opening of overpass

Relatives of Tom Fountain were in attendance at the official opening of the Tom Fountain overpass at Blacksoil on Thursday.
Relatives of Tom Fountain were in attendance at the official opening of the Tom Fountain overpass at Blacksoil on Thursday. Rob Williams
Relatives of the late Tom Fountain attend the official opening of the overpass that carries his name, (at back) daughter Fay Samson, granddaughter Leisa Skudder, son Graham Fountain and (front) great-grandchildren Gabriel and Amelia Skudder.
Relatives of the late Tom Fountain attend the official opening of the overpass that carries his name, (at back) daughter Fay Samson, granddaughter Leisa Skudder, son Graham Fountain and (front) great-grandchildren Gabriel and Amelia Skudder. Rob Williams

THIRTY years after Tom Fountain was tragically killed in a car accident, a key overpass at Blacksoil has been officially opened and named in his honour.

Mr Fountain died in 1984 in a truck accident with his dear friend Ron Schmidt.

Yesterday members of both families were on hand at the opening of the overpass by politicians Sean Choat, Scott Emerson and Matthew Canavan.

Tom Fountain Overpass is used by motorists using the Warrego Hwy and Brisbane Valley Hwy intersection at the $93.4 million Blacksoil Interchange.

Now traffic approaching the intersection from Wulkuraka and travelling to the Brisbane Valley no longer has to make the dangerous crossing of the Warrego Hwy.

Graham Fountain, son of Tom, said his father was a local through and through.

"My father moved out here in around 1957 and kept working with the business, as well as the one in at Brassall that started off there probably in the very early 1940s," he said.

"He had Brassall Motors in at Pine Mountain Rd where he did mechanical repairs, then he started getting into the trucking business.

"Out here he had trucks and a mechanical business and put in 40 years."

It was a trip down memory lane for Graham as, while standing on the overpass, he pointed out where his father's business at Blacksoil was.

"It was over there … underneath where that big pile of dirt is now," he said.

"It was right at this intersection.

"It is good to see that they have finally improved the road somewhat over the years, which is great.

"I only live two kilometres down the road ... and this can save lives.

"The landscape has certainly changed but the memories will always remain."

It was a shock to the local community when they lost Tom Fountain back in 1984. He was well-known and highly regarded by all.

"People would come out and buy spare parts and, if they broke down on the side of the road, dad would always be there to repair the vehicle or tow them," Graham said.

"If there was a truck rollover, he would do recovery work.

"He had the transport depot … carting wool from out west and he would run trucks interstate.

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"He and Ron were lifelong mates, and they were in a truck accident up at Mt Larcom on their way to Rockhampton at the time."

Graham Fountain's sister, daughter and two grandchildren attended yesterday's ceremony. Ron's son Noel Schmidt and his two sisters were also in attendance

Mr Choat, the Ipswich West MP, lobbied for the overpass to be named in honour of Tom Fountain.

"It was always known as Fountain's Corner, so I thought what better thing than to name the bridge after Tom rather than a politician or footballer," Mr Choat said.

"This is something for the local community.

"Tom's family is thrilled to bits and really pleased with it."

Senator Canavan said the commercial spin-offs of the Tom Fountain Overpass and other government road infrastructure plans were not to be underestimated.

"Along with the government's investment in the Warrego and Second Range Crossing, the Tom Fountain Overpass is part of a plan that will create a corridor of commerce from the wealth of western Queensland to the ports of Brisbane and the markets of Asia. That will make our beef, grains, gas and coal industries stronger and create more jobs."

Mr Emerson, Minister for Transport, said the overpass would "ease congestion and increase safety for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians … while still retaining access for local business and residents."

Topics:  blacksoil interchange, tom fountain overpass




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