Blacksoil's Tom Fountain overpass opening is celebrated
SOME call it a "corridor of commerce" while others just say it helps people get home safely but whatever you call it, the new Blacksoil Interchange is a great addition of infrastructure to the region.
Officially called the Tom Fountain Overpass, the new bridge opened to traffic on Sunday.
The $93 million development links Wulkuraka Road with the Brisbane Valley Highway over the Warrego Highway north-west of Ipswich.
Federal Senator Matt Canavan, Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson and Ipswich West MP Sean Choat joined members of Tom Fountain's family on the overpass today to celebrate the opening of the bridge which is on the site of Tom Fountain's garage.
Senator Canavan said the bridge was a part of the strategy to connect the wealth of western Queensland to the port of Brisbane and Asian markets.
"We've got enormous gas and coal resources past Toowoomba and until recently we had third world roads," Senator Canavan said.
"With the Second Toowoomba Crossing announced, this is now going to be a corridor of commerce between the Surat Basin and Brisbane."
Minister for Main Roads and Transport Scott Emerson said 40,000 vehicles used the road every day.
"The corridor of commerce is true, but daily use by local people - there is big benefits there as well," Mr Emerson said.
Ipswich West MP Sean Choat said this Interchange meant a lot to the local community.
"The idea of naming it after the late Tom has been the most positive aspect for the community," he said.
"It is great to see Tom's family and those of the late Ron Schmidt who was Tom's great friend and was tragically killed with him in 1984, here today to see the new overpass."
The pair died in a road accident at Mt Larcom near Rockhampton.
Tom's son Graham who ran the business after his father's death until he sold the premises to the Department of Main Roads in 1996 said the bridge was a long time coming.
"This has always been a trouble spot," he said.