Mal comes up with big plan to reduce Coast to Bris commute
A PROPOSAL to shift southern Sunshine Coast traffic off the Bruce Highway at the new $80.7m Bells Creek interchange would slash 2.85km off a trip from Brisbane to Caloundra and reduce the need for expensive roadworks further north.
Fisher MP Mal Brough has told media outlets that linking the Bells Creek interchange now under construction to the Caloundra Rd roundabout at Corbould Park may reduce the scale of the planned $300 million widening of the Caloundra Rd, Bruce Hwy, Steve Irwin Way intersection which threatens 25 hectares of the Mooloolah National Park.
The proposal has won the support of former Coordinator-General's Department engineer Charlie McConagle who ended his career as engineer manager for Thiess Construction.
Mr McConagle has provided his expert advice to Sunshine Coast Environment Council campaigners fighting to protect significant vegetation threatened by the proposed high-speed interchange to Caloundra Rd and the Steve Irwin Way.
He said releasing southern Sunshine Coast traffic from the Bruce Hwy at Bells Creek would eliminate the need for what he considered an unnecessarily heavily engineered piece of infrastructure.
"Mr Brough's plan has merit and is worth examining,'' he said.
An 8.85km route between Bells Creek Rd and the Caloundra Rd roundabout ultimately would be needed to service Stockland's Caloundra South development.
Who paid for the route would be a matter for the federal and state governments and Stockland to negotiate.
Mr Brough said that more than $200 million had to be spent at the highway interchange at Caloundra.
"But what would be the implication if the state government was to work with (Stockland's) Caloundra South and connect the on-ramp that now exists at Bells Creek through to just east of the (Caloundra) racecourse?
"Would that relieve a lot of the congestion down around the Caloundra exit?
"You would be contributing to something that would be helping a developer, but given that it would give quicker access to Caloundra from Brisbane, it could have a multiplier effect."